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Patient care


Moving with the times


Trends in dentistry may have changed, but patients’ expectations of good results have not, suggests Ian Buckle


O


ver the years, there have been many trends in dentistry and as they come and


go they leave their mark – some positive, some negative. As a result, our experience


will be greater and dentistry will be advanced and/or changed in some way. Most recently, we have ridden the cosmetic wave with an emphasis on creating the perfect smile, at almost any cost. Patients’ desires for imme- diate results, coupled with most dentists’ preference to pursue a restorative option, has probably resulted in some over-zealous tooth preparation. However, patients who


required restoration will undoubtedly have benefited from dentists’ greater under- standing of smile design. Also, the profile and perception of dentistry have been enhanced, with patients now appreciating the benefits and desirability of dentistry rather than dentistry being seen as a necessary evil. With an ageing population


who want to look good and expect to keep their teeth for a lifespan that has never been longer, the expectations of dentistry have never been greater.


Balance Trends in dentistry tend to be introduced around new dental tools. For example, the devel- opment of increasingly thinner, stronger and more beautiful porcelains, together with improved bonding techniques, have propelled the cosmetic wave. We need to remember that while it is very important to move with the times and embrace new technologies, it is also essential to appreciate the concepts that underlie good dentistry and never forget the timeless principles that have stood the test of time (Fig 1). These days, much is written


about “comprehensive dentistry” as a concept, but what does that mean? Compre- hensive or complete dentistry is about treating the patient as a whole rather than as a “mouth” and understanding the balance that exists between function and aesthetics, biology and structure. It is also about under- standing the psychological and psychosocial ramifications that exist for each patient. Sometimes, we dwell too


much on just one aspect. While patients may ask us to create a beautiful smile, I doubt that


Continued » Ireland’s Dental magazine 35


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