Digital impressions, CADCAM, new materials like high-strength and press ceramics, advanced polymer technology and adhesive technology have all had a big impact, along with an increasing trend toward the use of biomimetic principles.
A major one! CADCAM technology has given us access to novel materials like zirconium dioxide and lithium disilicate. The spectacular virtual world we have entered offers numerous attractive pathways to high-tech restorations – from digital impressions and treatment planning to guided implant surgery, prosthetic design and manufacture. Also, communication between healthcare providers and patients is enhanced.
Probably not, or only in specific fields like guided surgery.
Not necessarily! Natural teeth can be enhanced using minimally invasive techniques like dental bleaching and laminate veneers, which are now certainly within the competences of the average clinician and the budget of average patients.
To a large extent it is, because partially dentate or edentulous patients normally ask for teeth, or additional stability and comfort, not directly for implants. Logically, an implant has to be considered as the apical extension of an optimal restoration. In other words, implant manufacturers should increasingly focus on the restorative/prosthetic dimension of implant dentistry, as there is still a major need for further development.
Prevention of oral diseases and efficient plaque control are the cornerstones of contemporary dental medicine. Evidence-based prophylaxis-oriented clinical concepts are changing both individual oral health and public health policies. Several European countries have reduced the number of dental students while increasing the number of dental hygienists.
We will see further refinement of biomimetic, minimally-invasive concepts and techniques, along with the development of associated materials. Computer-assisted treatment planning, 3D guided surgery and virtual design of reconstructions will improve substantially. This process will be driven by visionaries from both the industry and academia.
We need a more intense, efficient dialogue based on mutual respect between industry, researchers and clinicians to identify the future needs of the population, followed by concrete collaboration to respond to those needs. Scientific documentation is also essential to sustainable progress.