24th International
Symposium on Ceramics
Quintessence Publishing

This was the first Symposium on Ceramics I've attended. I plan on attending future ones.

This was put on by Quintessence publishing. A well-known publishing company on dentistry, aesthetic dentistry, dental technology, and academic journals such as The International Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Implants, Journal of Oral & Facial Pain and Headache, and about a dozen more.

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Early morning view of the main ballroom for the Symposium

The Most Exciting News...

-- Non-invasive dentistry.

This was the main trend during the symposium. 

Dentists and dental technicians demonstrated their work over the last few years, and shared updates on work they did 5, 10, even 20 years ago; where they used non- or minimally invasive techniques to restore a patient's smile.

The bottom-line in many of these talks, the natural tooth, which includes the enamel, dentin, and pulp, are perfect as they are, better than any restoration we can create by hand, and we should all aim to keep as much of it as possible, no matter how damaged it may seem.

Dr. Francesca Vailati compared tooth restoration to getting a prosthetic leg.

I paraphrase her lecture: "...Even if 30% of the original leg is left, you keep it... and fit the prosthetic over it. You don't remove the 30% and then fit a fake leg on."

Throughout the weekend we saw cases where patients had what looked like completely destroyed teeth with no hope of rescue.

The damage came from a wide range of issues. For instance, bruxism (heavy grinding), or stomach acids (gastro-intestinal conditions or years of bulimia), failed dental implants, or other serious issues.

Instead of completely removing the remaining teeth structure, the dentists kept what was left and fitted veneers, crowns, or other restorations over them.

In some of these cases, the work was so minimally invasive that the patient didn't even need anesthesia!

Again, many of these cases were completed 5, 10, even 20 years ago and still functioning today.

These techniques are proving themselves at the clinical level, which means in everyday real life (not a laboratory experiment).

I think this is a great trend.

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Over 1,500 attendees at the Symposium on Ceramics

What's Making These Techniques Possible?

Dental technologies such as modern adhesive bonding material and stronger dental ceramics makes minimally invasive techniques possible.

For instance, the ceramic or porcelian material I use everyday can create aesthetically pleasing restorations (fake teeth), but the material can be as strong or even stronger than natural enamel.

And a very small amount of adhesive, if prepped properly, is needed to bond the restoration to the remaining enamel or even to the dentin (if the natural enamel has been destroyed).

For example, Dr. Matthias Kern gave an overview of several patients he worked with over the last 20 years. These patients were children when they came to him.

Each had lost one or more anterior teeth to different causes. Since they were children at the time, dental implants was not an option to replace the missing teeth.

Normally a bridge would be used to fill in the space with a fake tooth (dental restoration), or maybe even a partial denture.

The problem with a traditional bridge is he would have to grind down healthy teeth adjacent to the missing tooth area, in order to use it to affix the bridge.

Instead, he used a resin-bonded ceramic Maryland bridge with a single ceramic retainer wing.

Ceramic Maryland bridge with a single retainer wing

Not to get too technical... his dental restorations were made from all ceramic material (no metal). The restorations had a wing-arm.

And the wing-arm was bonded to an adjacent healthy tooth, which kept the restoration in place.

The result is that no healthy teeth had to be destroyed to use this method.

And 5, 10, even 20 years later these patients, now adults, still have them in place.

Not bad.

I had a great time...

I had a great time. Ran into many old friends. And picked up a lot of useful tips for creating aesthetic dental restorations that I'm already using at work.

The 24th Symposium took place next door to the Oscar's home in Hollywood


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