Modern Ceramics - Apple Watch vs Teeth

What do Apple Computers company and dentistry have in common?  The Apple Edition Ceramic Watch is made of Zirconia, a material commonly used in dentistry today. Zirconia undergoes a sophisticated fabrication process called sintering where its powder form is treated with heat to compact into a solid material of tremendous strength.  Zirconia can be shaped, layered with additional ceramics, or simply stained and glazed to create realistic details found in natural teeth.  The discovery of Zirconia allows dentists and dental ceramists to create beautiful restorations which can resist fractures.  However,  Zirconia is extremely technique sensitive in the lab.  Making Zirconia look good for front teeth requires the work of ceramists with meticulous artistic skills.

The first photo below shows the Apple Watch made out of Zirconia.  Note the highly polished glossy surface.  The Zirconia is so strong that a watch casing can withstand the stress of wear and tear.

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The second photo here shows a clinical case of upper and lower veneers we recently completed with Zirconia.  Note the detailed characteristics which give the veneers life.  By taking advantage of the strength of the material, and combining its scientific properties with the art of dental ceramics these veneers will out last those created by materials in the past.

AlexNguyenDDS.ZirconiaVeneers

Apple Watch photo courtesy of macworld.co.uk

 

What Does it Mean when a Tooth Fractures?

When posterior teeth such as the molars fracture, there is usually a correlation with anterior teeth wear and fracture as well. In the ideal bite, the anterior teeth length, contour, and position help guide the joints to move properly.  This front teeth feature called "anterior guidance" also helps prevent the back teeth from contacting when the patient grinds on the teeth from side to side.  When the anterior teeth are misaligned and/or have been ground down by the bite force, the posterior teeth can begin to come into contact during the grinding movements.  The excess bite force on the back teeth can then create fracture lines on the teeth over time, and eventually can cause the tooth to fracture.

In the case below, a patient presents with a fractured molar.  A close up look at the anterior teeth reveals multiple wear facets and fracture lines on the front teeth as well.  The bite force has taken a told on this patient's dentition, and fractures on the teeth and his restorations are inevitable.

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In another case below the patient's bite simply split the molar into two halves:

Fractured Molar2

In a different case below, the patient also presents with molars ground down significantly. The old porcelain crowns also have been ground down to expose the metal core inside.  A close up look of the anterior teeth profile allows us to match the shape of wear facets of upper and lower teeth together like pieces of a jig saw puzzle.

Uncontrolled bite force is one of many causes for the destruction of people's teeth throughout their life time.  If the above cases remain untreated, the teeth can eventually wear themselves down to little nubs over time.  If the cases are treated, they must be recognized as scenarios which require careful monitoring and adjustments during the patient's regular check-up appointments. Moreover, additional preventive measures such as night guards are crucial in helping the teeth from being destroyed when the patients grind uncontrollably in their sleep.

It is important to understand that bite related cases require a life time of maintenance and handling by the right clinician.  The over all picture of the bite must be evaluated and treated comprehensively rather than simple tooth by tooth treatment.