Understanding dental prosthetic aesthetics

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Dental Review and NobelProcera discuss the “subjectivity” of the term “aesthetics” regarding dental prosthetics

The term “aesthetics” is often used in dentistry – but there is actually a great deal more to the concept than simply talking about something that looks good. In philosophy aesthetics is the study of subjective and sensory-emotional values, sometimes called judgments of sentiment and taste. In this, we can identify a pivotal concept: subjectivity.

Critically aesthetics is the study of art and culture, a definition of the appreciation of beauty, so how does it relate to dentistry? Aesthetic dentistry occurs at the point where science meets art, and it has a stern master – nature. And it can only be possible when the materials are right.

Understanding this is crucial to understanding aesthetics and – in a dental context – it is vital that both clinicians and technicians are aware of how it affects the success of their work. Subjectivity is one of the most important elements of any good dental work – that is, taking into account the patient’s expectations of what is and what isn’t a successful aesthetic outcome.

No matter how beautiful a finished prosthesis is in the technician’s and the dentist’s eyes, if the patient is not satisfied it is unsuccessful. This can be a bitter pill to swallow, especially after all the hard work that has been put into any piece of work – but ultimately it is the patient who must be happy with their new smile.

Achieving a natural dental aesthetic

Emulating the aesthetic look of natural teeth is something that all dental technicians aspire to, but achieving this is by no means a simple task. The appearance of natural teeth is due to variations caused by their layered composition – the dentine and enamel – and the translucency of each individual layer.

A prime complicating factor is that no two patients’ dentition will exhibit the same aesthetic properties; they are unique. The optimum desired outcome is to create a restoration that not only looks natural but also blends in with the patient’s natural teeth.

Another crucial set of parameters to consider are the restoration’s strength and functionality. There is no point in manufacturing a restoration that looks great and natural if it cannot withstand the patient’s occlusion or provide acceptable function. Blending strength with aesthetics is notoriously difficult.

Natural enamel provides an effective equilibrium between the two, but, unfortunately, we can’t create dental prostheses out of natural enamel. Alternative materials must be found that provide comparable results.


Multilayered full-contour zirconia

Patients increasingly demand natural looking, functional restorations, and clinicians expect their labs to meet the need. This has driven the development of new materials and technologies that can successfully emulate the visual aesthetic of natural teeth while also proving strong and functional.

A prime example of such material would be NobelProcera’s high-translucency multilayered full-contour zirconia restorations. The colour of the material changes in gradual, natural-looking layers that pass right through the it, blending naturally with neighbouring teeth, and the prosthetics are delivered to the lab in their final shape, with great occlusal detail. This means they will only need the finishing touches before being sent to the surgery, saving technicians’ valuable time.

Offering exceptionally natural aesthetics, the NobelProcera material is perfect for a selection of screw- and cement-retained dental crowns and bridges. Technicians will find that full-contour zirconia restorations also reduce the risk of chipping, which minimises the need for remakes and stress. And for cases requiring even higher aesthetic outcomes, they can choose to design a cut-back and build the final shape by veneering.

In conclusion we must consider the sudden explosion of more natural looking paintings that flooded from the studios of artists throughout Europe when a new medium, oil paint, replaced the water-based, flatter looking egg tempera that had been in common use for centuries. Leonardo da Vinci and Hans Holbein could not have created their masterpieces without the new material.

A similar revolution – providing stronger, more natural looking restorations – has now occurred in dentistry thanks to multilayered full-contour zirconia restorations from NobelProcera. Thanks to this new material your patients will be able to smile with confidence, naturally and beautifully.