Additive dentistry can be used to solve patients’ complex dental problems while preserving their existing tooth structure, and more dentists should use it, says Dr Christopher Ho, a lecturer at the University of Sydney, Australia, visiting lecturer at King’s College London in Britain and faculty member of the Global Institute for Dental Education and Academy of Dental Excellence.
“In the past, we had to grind teeth down to provide room for crowns made of porcelain fused to metal. Now, we can just bond very thin layers of materials such as ceramic or nano-hybrid composite resin to the remaining tooth structure instead. This is healthier and a superior treatment option because when you remove tooth structure, you are removing the integrity of the tooth and weakening the tooth, and you might also cause inadvertent damage to the pulp in the tooth,” he explained.
Furthermore, such additive techniques help to preserve teeth’s remaining enamel. “When you bond materials to enamel, you get a very predictable bond over the long term, which is good for patients,” Dr Ho said. Recent advances in additive materials, such as the nano-hybrids and new versions of lithium disilicates, also have increased strength, excellent longevity and better aesthetics with lustre and fluorescence similar to natural teeth.
Dr Ho said that additive dentistry is especially recommended for people whose teeth has been worn down due to the grinding of teeth or acid erosion caused by poor diet or diseases such as anorexia and bulimia. Dentists should also be familiar with both direct and indirect additive restoration techniques, and use them either singly or in combination depending on the patients’ needs.
He concluded: “All dentists should have these additive concepts in their back pocket and know when and how to use them.”
Dr. Ho will be speaking on the ‘Additive Approach to Complex Rehabilitation: Digital Workflow Meets the Art and Science of Dentistry’ at the IDEM 2018 Conference in Singapore in April.