Dental materials are tools that we use to restore form and function to our patients' dentition. There is no "best" tool. Oftentimes, many different tools can be used to accomplish the same task; however, some tools may be better suited to certain situations than others. Although our choice of dental materials is critical to restorative success, the techniques that we use to apply them are just as critical—perhaps even more so. As the dental profession shifts from predominantly delivering direct amalgam restorations and indirect metal-based restorations to delivering adhesively bonded direct composite restorations and indirect ceramic restorations, the techniques and the preparation designs that we use must evolve. Adapting our techniques to suit these materials will not only help to prevent premature failures but also allow us to best leverage their properties to increase the longevity of our patients' dentition. That's the goal—not to increase the lifetime of our restorations but rather the lifetime of our patients' dentition.
This month, Inside Dentistry's 2021 materials issue includes several articles that incorporate concepts from a movement in the profession that is known as biomimetic dentistry. This approach to dentistry is a conservative, thoughtful, and evidence-based method that uses modern dental materials to closely restore teeth back to their original form and function. There is much variety in the way that different dentists practice biomimetic dentistry, and these techniques and methods overlap with other movements in modern restorative dentistry.
The ultimate goal of all dental professionals is to improve the oral health of our patients. However, the methods by which we achieve this goal may differ based on our individual philosophies and training and the needs and means of our patients. There are many different appropriate methodologies that can be used to responsibly treat our patients. This issue is intended to expose our readers to different applications of dental materials that are both familiar and new. We encourage all to critically read the articles and hope that you discover concepts that resonate and improve your clinical dentistry.
Nathaniel Lawson, DMD, PhD
Guest Editor, Inside Dentistry
Division of Biomaterials
University of Alabama at Birmingham
School of Dentistry
Robert C. Margeas, DDS
Editor-in-Chief, Inside Dentistry
Private Practice, Des Moines, Iowa
Department of Operative Dentistry
University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa