Durability – More important now than ever
Now more than ever, dental patients want treatment results that last. However, they also value shorter treatment times and aesthetic outcomes. To achieve all this, utilising the right products, technologies and protocols is key for practitioners.
Whether patients require urgent treatment to rid them of pain, restorative procedures to repair damage from trauma or disease, or elective treatments to improve their self-confidence, they want results that will endure. This represents value, providing maximum return on their investment of both time and money, while giving them peace of mind that their oral health is protected for the foreseeable future.
The promise of fewer visits is another attractive advantage for most patients, with at least 10 million in the UK suffering from some form of dental fear. [i] This benefit is intensified in light of the on-going pandemic. Many people have and will continue to limit their contact with people outside their households in order to protect themselves and their loved ones. Patients will therefore appreciate not needing to travel to and enter the dental practice too often.
As important as durable treatment options are to modern patients, they are often not willing to compromise aesthetics. This, coupled with growing uncertainty among the general population about the safety of amalgam fillings due to the potential mercury release, means that most people will appreciate an alternative restorative option. This is when materials like glass ionomers come into their own – they provide long-lasting solutions with better aesthetics than amalgam and that facilitate quicker treatment times for less time spent in the chair.
Meeting patients’ desire to limit practice visits and reduce treatment times – without compromising quality of care – can help the dental practice to maintain its patient base. Delivering treatment results that last for longer means that patients stay healthy and their satisfaction with the treatment received remains high. In turn, this can encourage word-of-mouth recommendations and enhance the business’ reputation among the local community for long-term support and stability.
On a day-to-day basis, the practice diary can be made more efficient. By ensuring that patients don’t require additional follow-up appointments to repair chips in their restorations, for example, practitioners are better able to optimise their surgery time. This is further supported by the rapid workflows that solutions like glass ionomers enable in a wide range of clinical indications. In view of the backlog of patients that many practices are still facing due to a year of pandemic-related restrictions, this greater speed and efficiency means that more patients can be seen for improved health of the local community and maximum revenue to support business recovery.
It is important to achieve this durability of treatment results without compromising quality of the procedures or patient experience. This involves careful management of various protocols in place throughout the practice. For instance, meticulous treatment planning will help clinicians to avoid potential complications and prepare for enduring treatment results that their patients will love. The use of digital technologies, where appropriate, and the workflows employed will therefore have a significant impact on the quality and durability achieved.
It is also essential to consider how patients are communicated with. Their compliance with oral hygiene advice will be integral to protecting the outcomes delivered and enabling them to enjoy the benefits for longer. Ensuring they understand their role is a crucial element of the planning and consent processes.
Of course, product selection is just as important for quality treatment and long-lasting effects. When it comes to restorative dentistry, the filling materials chosen are often the key to success. Particularly in the posterior region, clinicians need products that feature high resistance to chipping, without compromising aesthetics, clinical efficiency or workflow flexibility.
As already mentioned, selecting glass ionomers instead of amalgam allows much simpler application for a faster treatment time when compared to amalgam or composites. They also require less drilling and preparing of the tooth than that required for amalgam restorations. All of this ultimately reduces chair time for the benefit of both patient and practitioner, delivering the efficiency that is so beneficial in times of COVID-19.
A fine example is the Kemdent Diamond Rapid Set Glass Ionomer Cement Capsules. Extreme durability and chipping resistance mean they are ideal for non-load-bearing Class I and Class II restorations, as well as for deciduous teeth, the sandwich technique and core build ups. The innovative formula renders the material resistant to saliva almost immediately, minimising the risk of contamination from moisture for maximum material strength – after 6 months a compressive strength of 350MPa is achieved. Supporting the clinical workflow, the material offers just over a 2-minute working time and adheres to both dentine and enamel. The capsules are also individually wrapped in easy-open foils, facilitating single-dose dentistry and optimising both efficiency and hygiene in the surgery. The Kemdent Diamond Rapid Set Glass Ionomer Cement even release fluoride to provide a level of protection against caries.
Achieving outstanding clinical results is only one step in the delivery of high-quality patient treatment. Both patient and practitioner benefit from more efficient treatment workflows and that still achieve durable outcomes – especially in the world we live in today. With careful product selection, the very best results can be encouraged in a wide range of restorative procedures.
Article by Alistair Mayoh
[i] Oral Health Foundation. Income, education and social isolation linked to dental anxiety in new report. News & Blogs. April 2018. https://www.dentalhealth.org/news/income-education-and-social-isolation-linked-to-dental-anxiety-in-new-report [Accessed January 2021]