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Principles of Biomimetic Dentistry

Did you know a tooth is in fact a delicate organ? It has its own blood supply, nervous system, and lymphatic drainage. The root of a tooth is very porous and this allows for nutrient exchange between the tooth and its surrounding bone. The science of dentistry is not always taking these facts into consideration and teeth are often treated as hairs or nails: they get cut or filed down. Yet, a tooth cannot re-grow itself. On the other hand, a tooth has the ability to detoxify itself, a little known fact! The detoxification process takes place from the inside of the tooth pulp out through the outside enamel layer. When a tooth is broken down and damaged by decay, a dental crown may be recommended by a dentist to remedy the situation. What takes place during a crown preparation, however, is essentially an indiscriminate partial tooth amputation where almost the entire enamel layer and some dentin is drilled away leaving a small stump. The tooth is then fitted for a full coverage crown. The resulting crown, as it covers the whole tooth, blocks the natural detoxification process and the pulp of the tooth may eventually undergo necrosis leading to an abscess. Once the tooth is abscessed, it needs to be extracted or treated with root canal therapy which comes with its own set of potential risks. Sometimes, the prior damage to the tooth is too extensive and a dental crown is truly the only treatment that can restore the tooth to is function. However, the field of biomimetic dentistry seeks to explore and implement a much more conservative approach whenever possible. Instead of a full coverage crown, a large composite resin filling is done while using a specific layering technique along with reinforcing the internal tooth structure with a matrix, called Ribbond. At White Sands Dentistry, we also utilize Ribbond's proven technique in supporting the areas of the tooth where a cusp was lost. This technique is called a cusp replacement. It is a time-consuming and very technique-sensitive process but as a result, only truly damaged areas of the tooth are removed, leaving the rest in place and allowing the tooth to "breathe" so to speak. Ribbond also allows the tooth to flex under mastication forces while minimizing possibility of stress cracks. The biomimetic approach thus conserves the tooth structure whereby minimizing the chances of abscessing, breakage, and catastrophic toothloss, greatly extending the life span of a tooth.

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