Dental Technologies Through the Ages

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Think cosmetic and restorative dentistry are new phenomena? The ancient Chinese would sometimes insert tooth-sized bamboo shoots into a patient’s gum. Some Mayan skeletons were found with small pieces of seashell embedded in the jawbone, mimicking teeth.

Thankfully, dental technologies have improved considerable since those times. Today’s cosmetic dentistry options are safe, effective, and state-of-the-art. Here are just a few of the offerings.

If the root of your tooth is healthy, and the surface of your enamel is mostly intact, with only a few stains or decay spots, veneers can be a great option. Porcelain veneers are realistic-looking and durable, lasting five to 10 years with proper care. Lumineers are incredibly thin (barely 0.2 millimeters thick), basically translucent, and thus even more realistic-looking than porcelain. Composite resin veneers are more affordable, more easily made, but also more easily damaged, usually lasting an average of six years.

Even if a tooth and root are too damaged to remain in the mouth, dental technologies can handle that as well. Where previous generations could only rely on adhesive-bound dentures to restore their smile, current patients have the options of replacing their damaged roots with titanium implants, which anchor to the jawbone and serve provide a solid foundation for one tooth or several teeth. In fact, and entire upper or lower set of teeth can be placed on as little as four dental implants.

Basic Whitening
Just need a quick pick-me-up for your enamel? There’s a procedure for that too! Basic whitening uses a peroxide-based solution to oxidize stains away from enamel. Treatments can be performed in a dentist’s office, or at home using a dentist-provided whitening tray or an over-the-counter kit, available in most drug stores. If you choose to have your whitening done by the pros, you also have the option of laser whitening — a low-energy carbon laser is aimed at the peroxide solution, which speeds up the oxidation process.

For all we know, bamboo shoots and pieces of shell were the height of dental technologies of the time, though now they seem archaic to us. But who knows what wonders will be available a few thousand years from now, and how primitive our most advanced techniques will seem to that society? Research more like this:

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