Masking aesthetic defects – 3M Oral Care

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  Posted by: Dental Design      3rd June 2019

In modern dentistry, aesthetics continue to play an increasingly significant role. Indeed, although function remains the primary concern, it is fast becoming apparent that patients and professionals alike are no longer satisfied with compromised aesthetics following treatment.

As such, it’s important to explore ways to provide patients with the most aesthetic outcomes, as well as learn how to tackle the most common aesthetic problems relating to metal and stained dentition.

Why are aesthetics becoming more important?

Although not always possible to achieve, aesthetics have played a role in dental procedures from the beginning. After all, it makes sense that people would want whichever restorative solution they receive to look as natural as possible, but a big part of this has always been dictated by what treatments are available.

Function must always come first. Even where a more aesthetic option is available, if it is unlikely to be able to offer a long-lasting solution then it is no longer a viable choice. Luckily, modern dentistry continues to innovate and evolve, and this has led to the development of more aesthetic options for a broad range of restoratives, including zirconia crowns, glass ionomers and more natural-looking composites – all of which can provide function and aesthetics in equal measure.

On the other hand, aesthetics may also be growing in importance due to societal pressures that we experience every day. Social media, airbrushed celebrities and the growing exposure people have to unrealistic body and beauty expectations are all having a considerable affect on people’s sense of self worth. This means that people are always looking for the best-looking option possible.

Studies have shown that even children as young as 7-10 feel the pressure to look their best,[i]and this is quickly leading to people seeking treatment for their smiles if they are unhappy with them, especially as smiles are often considered one of the most important features in terms of assessing whether someone is attractive.[ii]This ultimately means that people will also want the most aesthetic option possible when it comes to routine fillings or other restorative work, as compromising smile aesthetics could damage someone’s self-esteem.

Colour matching comes first

Tooth shade is often considered the most important factor of an aesthetic smile.[iii]As such, it’s more important than ever for professionals to be able to match the natural hue of their patients’ teeth when restoring.

This presents certain challenges. The first of which is that the shade of a patient’s dentition is not always unanimous throughout their mouths. Localised staining and other factors all come into play, and restoring around these or hiding these defects is often difficult to achieve. 

Common aesthetic problems

Aesthetic problems come in many guises, but there are some that you are more likely to see than others. The first of these is patients wanting to replace metal restorations such as amalgam fillings with a more aesthetic alternative. There has been an attitude shift in dentistry towards going metal free, and this means plenty of patients who have existing amalgam fillings will be seeking to have them replaced. Amalgam can stain dentition and this is difficult to disguise with traditional composites.

Coffee and food stains can easily be polished away, but defects caused by antibiotics such as tetracycline provide a much more difficult challenge and effective treatment needs a composite specifically designed to mask these types of stains.

One such composite is the new Filtek Universal Restorative from 3M Oral Care. Offering a simplified shade selection of just eight designer shades to cover the whole Vita spectrum, Filtek Universal restorative from 3M also has a shade designed especially for masking aesthetic defects with ease – Pink Opaquer.[iv]This includes stains caused by metal, tetracycline and tooth damage.

Suitable for use in a wide array of indications including direct posterior and anterior restorations (including occlusal surfaces), core build ups, splinting and indirect restorations such as inlays, onlays and veneers, Filtek Universal Restorative from 3M is a universally simpler solution.

Entering the aesthetic generation

Aesthetic issues need to be overcome, and this requires using products that can meet these challenges head on. By choosing a composite that easily masks trickier stains you can ensure that all of your patients will be able to benefit from better aesthetics.

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[i]The Guardian. Girls As Young As 7 Feel The Pressure To Be Pretty – Body Confidence Study. Link:[Last accessed April 19].

[ii]Little, A., Jones, B., DeBruine, L. Facial Attractiveness: Evolutionary Based Research. Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 2011 Jun 12; 366(1571): 1638–1659.

[iii]Mokhtar, H., Abuljadeyal, L., Al-Ali, R., Yousef, M. The Perception of Smile Attractiveness Among Saudi Population. Clin Cosmet Investig Dent. 2015; 7: 17–23.

[iv]3M Oral Care Internal Data. Masking with Pink Opaquer. Claim 7393

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