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Understanding dental prosthetic esthetics

The term esthetics is a common one in dentistry – but there is actually a great deal more to the concept than simply something that looks good. In philosophy esthetics is the study of subjective and sensori-emotional values, sometimes called judgments of sentiment and taste. In this, we can identify a pivotal concept: subjectivity.

Esthetic outcome in prosthetic dentistry

Understanding this is crucial to understanding esthetics and – in a dental setting – 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 esthetic outcome. No matter how beautiful a finished prosthesis is, if the patient is not satisfied, it should be considered 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.

NobelProcera’s multilayered full-contour zirconia range

NobelProcera's multilayered full-contour zirconia range

Achieving a natural dental esthetic

Emulating the esthetic look of natural teeth is something that all dental technicians aspire to, but achieving this is by no means a simple task. The way teeth look can be attributed to their layered composition – the dentine and the enamel – and the translucency of each individual layer. Making it even more complicated is the fact that no two patients’ teeth will exhibit the same esthetic properties; they are unique. As such, it can be difficult to create a prosthesis that not only looks natural, but also blends in with the patient’s remaining teeth.

Delivering a strong dental prosthesis

It is also crucial to consider strength and functionality alongside any esthetic factors when creating dental prostheses. There is after all no point in having a restoration that looks great if it cannot withstand the patient’s occlusion or provide acceptable function. Blending strength with esthetics is notoriously difficult. Enamel itself is a unique material and provides an effective equilibrium between the two, but it is not possible to make dental prostheses out of enamel. As such, substitutes must be selected that can provide comparable results.

Multilayered full-contour zirconia

Multilayered full-contour zirconia

Choosing esthetic materials

For labs the need to find and utilize materials that can provide an appropriate mix of strength and esthetic appeal has grown in recent years. This has driven the progression and development of new materials and technologies that can successfully emulate the esthetics of natural teeth whilst remaining strong and functional.

An example would be NobelProcera’s high-translucency multilayered full-contour zirconia restorations.* The color changes in gradual, natural-looking layers that pass right through the material, blending in naturally with neighboring teeth and they come in their final shape, with great occlusal detail. This means they only need the finishing touches, saving your lab valuable time.

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*Not all featured products may be regulatory cleared/released for sale in all markets. Please contact the local Nobel Biocare sales office for current product assortment and availability.