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In the ever evolving world of dental materials, it’s sometime difficult to keep up with the latest developments. Luckily, we have dentists like Bruce Strickland of Care Dental Implant Clinic, Crieff who are willing to share experiences and clinical findings.

Dr Eilidh Morgan kindly invited me to write an article on the current or recent developments within my area of expertise; implant and reconstructive dentistry. Interestingly though, looking back on the last 22 years of career in Implantology you could compare the progression of this science to the life of a Pygmy Three-Toed sloth, very deliberate.

At the EAO (European Association of Implantology) congress in Paris last month, one of the key-note presentations was given by two European professors presenting their research data for the last 12 years of their work. They summed it all up giving the audience their solid recommendations, as if all their advice was new and revolutionary. In reality it all sounded just like a repeat of a presentation I heard from Professor Danny Buser, given 15 years ago when the EAO congress was last in Paris. Not much has been really new for many years, the challenge has always been to master and use the existing knowledge and science. I think that this will remain the same for a while on the surgical side of treatment, but I do believe that large and fundamental changes are in front of us all with regards restorative implant dentistry. These changes will filter through to much of general practice.

So what is new? It is the ability of laboratory technicians to impregnate colour into pre-sintered, translucent zirconia, allowing digital dentistry to finally deliver beautiful restorations for all areas of the mouth. Full-thickness zirconia crowns have been around for a while, but they have not looked great; they have been opaque and mono-coloured or surface stained. Layering porcelain onto a zirconia has been an option, but anyone using large layered zirconia bridges will be aware of a high chance of porcelain fracture. This is
because the zirconia is so ridged. Emax has been an answer for small restorations but not large ones. The significant changes have been in part developed by an Italian laboratory product manufacturer called Zirkonzahn. Not only have they developed a translucent zirconia, but they have also developed a way of impregnating it with colours in its raw state. This means that we can get really beautiful restorations, from single teeth to full arch restorations, without any porcelain layering. This therefore allows for a fully digital work flow.