Make your ceramic restorations look even more esthetic
Have you ever wondered what the word "esthetics" means? "Esthetics" traces its root to the ancient Greek word "aísthēsis" and literally means the study of sense perception. Everything that we view esthetically has an effect on our senses. Esthetics lies in the eye of the beholder and cannot be measured in units.
If so, what characterizes esthetics in restorative dentistry? In dental medicine, esthetics refers to the degree to which a restoration blends in with the surrounding tooth structure. An esthetically pleasing restoration perfectly integrates into the given oral surroundings and cannot be told from the natural tooth structure. This poses substantial challenges for all of us every time we create a new restoration. To make this task easier, we have compiled three essential tips to help you create restorations that look even more esthetic.
Tip 1 – Select your tooth shade carefully!
Selecting the correct tooth shade is the be-all and end-all of an esthetic restoration.
Any inaccuracies that may creep in at this stage will in most cases be difficult to amend later on. This is particularly true if the selected tooth shade is too dark. Don’t shy away from using new technologies – such as digital shade matching systems (e.g. Digital Shade Assistant) – to eliminate the uncertainties involved in the shade selection process. Digital shade matching systems can help you decide on a shade and offer a high level
of certainty. Bear in mind that the shade of the underlying remaining tooth structure has a decisive effect on the final shade of the restoration, particularly in the case of an all-ceramic restoration. Take advantage of die materials (e.g. Natural Die) that allow
you to optimally reflect the given oral situation in the dental lab. This is the only way
to establish the correct tooth shade and achieve an esthetic result.
Tip 2 – Use a coordinated range of materials!
Material properties play a key part in achieving an esthetically pleasing restoration. In particular, light-optical characteristics have an essential effect on the esthetic outcome. We recommend using materials that are sufficiently bright and offer opalescent and fluorescent properties similar to those of the natural dentition. However, this alone is not enough. Processing is important, too. The materials should be reliable and easy to process to achieve an esthetically reproducible result. Even if different techniques and materials are used, the resulting restorations should all feature the same matching shade. This is best achieved if you use a coordinated system of materials that offers you a wide range of processing options, from press ingots to CAD/CAM blocks and ceramics for the layering technique (e.g. IPS e.max). In this way, you can be assured that the material-specific and light-optical properties of the individual materials are ideally matched to one another. Don’t forget: an optimally coordinated range of materials not only helps you save time and money but also reduces the risk for processing errors.
Tip 3 – Use an appropriate processing technique!
Generally, every ceramic processing method (layering, press or CAD/CAM technique) entails both advantages and disadvantages. Carefully choose an appropriate technique, bearing the given situation in mind. It is often useful to combine different techniques to achieve optimum levels of esthetics, efficiency and precision. For instance, you may combine the efficiency and precision of the CAD/CAM technique with the versatility of the layering technique to design a highly esthetic restoration. Another well-established method is the press technique, which now offers you the possibility to use polychromatic ingots. Keep up with new techniques/technologies and use them to your best advantage.
The bottom line is: Position yourself successfully!
Esthetics and quality form the core values that every lab strives to incorporate into its business. If you add efficiency to these two criteria, you will be able to position your laboratory successfully. To achieve this, you will not only require technical skill, but you will also have to take considered action and select the right combination of materials. We hope we have been able to provide you with some valuable advice that will help you enhance your already excellent esthetic results.
Have you got some other ideas that you would like to share with your colleagues? We would love to hear them.
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