Wouldn’t it be great if we could all have our teeth repaired to a perfectly healthy and attractive state and have that condition remain relatively unchanged for the next forty years! You may be a candidate for such dentistry even if you feel helpless to conquer decay and gum disease.
Many dentists can accurately predict whether you are a candidate for an enduring smile. They are the ones most likely to be able to help you create a healthy and beautiful smile that can stay that way for 20, 30 or even 40 years or more.
In this book you will find advice, tips, and tools to help you achieve not just a beautiful smile for less cost. You will know whether your current dentist is helping you or hindering you. If you are looking for a new dentist, you will discover how to greatly improve your chances of making an excellent selection.
These articles were initially addressed the increasing challenges all of us face as our teeth suffer from use and abuse over time. As the articles developed, their usefulness expanded. Applying the principles of the book will assist younger generations in achieving a Lifetime Smile and, perhaps, even a 50-, 60- or 70-year smile.
Recent Advancements Make Lifetime Dentistry a Reality
The Lifetime Smile could not have come about until just recently.
Two advancements in dental materials provide superior results compared to what we have seen in the past. Although dental adhesives have been available for over 30 years, new chemical and physical properties enable these “glues” to strengthen teeth, while they painlessly bond fillings or crowns that replace missing tooth structure. Dental implants have raised the standard of care for the replacement of missing teeth. The latest generation of dental implants can now be predictably integrated into the jawbone to provide a successful base for dentures or replacement teeth.
- Advancements in the understanding and treatment of the biological processes of tooth decay and gum disease give us new tools to maintain healthy or “controlled” conditions in the mouth.
- Advancements in cosmetic dental products and a constant barrage from the media have awakened consumers to the possibilities of dentistry.
Early in a dentist’s career, there are not enough successes and failures to understand how dentistry could be made to last a lifetime. Young dentists may have a terrific educational background and raw talent, but are less likely to fully comprehend the long-term benefits of seeking perfection in dentistry. The dentist must repeatedly witness differences between good work and exceptional work to fully understand the critical nature of dentistry, especially when applied to the oral environment for a long period of time.
With more patients investing in elective dental services, such as whitening, veneers and cosmetic crowns, many patients are concerned with and are asking, “How long will it last?” This book answers that question for a general audience and portions of the book will address that question for you specifically.
The author’s desire and passion is to help dentists and their patients achieve lifetime smiles. When a young adult has a filling or crown placed, the desirable goal should be to have no more than one replacement later in life. The ideal goal is for a lifetime of service from a filling or crown. These goals are a change from a few years back, when the presumption was that a filling would be replaced in ten years by a larger filling, which would be replaced in another ten years by a crown.
There could be situations where 40 years is not a reasonable outlook for your teeth. Dentists routinely identify teeth whose prognosis is excellent, good, fair, poor orhopeless. Experienced dentists understand the limitations of modern ceramic materials and compromised oral conditions. This understanding helps to identify whether your restored teeth can remain in service for years to come.
Only teeth with excellent or good prognosis can be expected to last for 40 years or more. Your dentist can help you create realistic goals by identifying any compromised teeth and extra attention can be given where appropriate.
From Prevention to Preservation
As early as the 1950’s and 1960’s dentists were widely promoting the notion of preventive dentistry, which included fluoride toothpaste, proper brushing and flossing technique, dental checkups every six months and topical (direct) fluoride application in the dental office. Some dental offices included nutritional counseling as part of their preventive programs. These preventive techniques are still the standard of care, yet decay remains commonplace.
The new concept is preservation dentistry. Preservation dentistry goes beyond preventive dentistry. For the patient, preservation dentistry addresses all the ideas of preventive dentistry. It adds three patient responsibilities:
- Taking steps that can control the negative effects of what we allow to be placed in our mouths.
- The selection of dental treatments that can restore health and appearance without unnecessary damage to the teeth
- The selection of a skilled dentist who can recognize early signs of dental disease
For the dentist, preservation dentistry includes providing a patient experience that encourages the patient to continue on the journey to a healthy mouth. It must include mastering skills required for superb fit of any restoration. It includes reducing harmful bone loss and joint changes that are commonly seen with aging. It includes patient dental care management between visits, not just at checkup appointments.
Boy Scouts are taught to leave their campgrounds cleaner than the way they find them. This is an easy job if big messes are not made during their stay. Preservation dentistry relies on this same conservative approach. It is more than an improvement to an existing situation. Preservation dentistry is giving every tooth the best chance possible to last as many years as possible without requiring more treatment. Preservation dentistry is what can give you a lifetime smile.
– Robert L Strain, DDS
It was great. Each staff member greeted me and they walked me through the whole office. I highly recommend Studio Dentistry. They are great!!
Before & After
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Thank you for the family and friends who gave their time in support of this project. Among them are Ann Strain, Virginia Strain, Robert E. Strain, Catherine Unger, RDH.