Natural aesthetic results with direct composite restorations

25 February 2023

Steve Brown discusses the impact of an attractive smile on quality of life.

Steve Brown discusses the impact of an attractive smile on quality of life.

It is well established that dental features play a role in perceived overall attractiveness. Those who have a ‘nice smile’ are seen to be more attractive, and it is considered to be an asset which can have a great effect on peoples’ lifestyles – research suggests that those with comparatively unattractive smiles could be at a disadvantage in terms of their social and professional lives. When it comes to restorative treatment, patients often deem aesthetic results to be the most important. This is also important for the patient’s quality of life. Dental aesthetics have been shown to have a direct effect on patient’s self-esteem and confidence in social settings. Because of the impact that dental aesthetics can have on people’s lives, it’s important to consider aesthetics in all restorative treatments, no matter the indication.

Patient perceptions of an attractive smile

When it comes to aesthetic dentistry, the aim is to meet the needs of the patient, attempting to provide them with the necessary treatment to achieve the smile they would like. Generally, those with white teeth, good alignment and symmetrical dentition are considered to have a more attractive smile. Research suggests that tooth shade is the most important factor in deciding if a smile is attractive, followed closely by whether the smile is natural looking.

Even though trends suggest what is considered attractive at the time, an aesthetically pleasing smile is still subjective. This being said, there are standardised proportions that dictate what an aesthetically pleasing smile should look like. The golden proportions are often considered a cornerstone of aesthetic smile design, focusing on creating maxillary anterior teeth of optimal proportions. They were developed to achieve an aesthetic smile with a symmetrical maxillary arch.

Achieving a natural structure

Even if the motivation for treatment is not solely aesthetic and it is not focused on the anterior zone, it is still important to provide patients with aesthetic outcomes. Direct composite restorations are a fantastic way to achieve natural-looking aesthetics. Using composite, clinicians are able to perform a number of restorative treatments, including restoring caries affected teeth and reconstructing anterior and posterior teeth. When you are able to properly carry out layering techniques that emulate the natural structure of a tooth, you will be able to create a lifelike restoration. This begins with a good understanding of the structure and components of the tooth, by looking to the dentine, enamel and form of the natural teeth and imitating their appearance.

This can be achieved by building a layered composite restoration, carefully selecting and managing products to achieve accurately matched shades, tints and opacities. When layering the composite, consider areas where dentine would naturally cause more opacity and colour in the tooth, and where it might be more translucent, replicate this as closely as possible to help the restoration appear to be realistic.

Creating a long-lasting natural finish

To ensure the longevity of the restoration, and to give the tooth a realistic shine, it is important to take time to properly finish and polish the restoration. Finish by creating contours in the composite to give the restoration a realistic shape, and to ensure a smooth surface. Polishing is then necessary to remove any surface imperfections and create a long-lasting and natural looking shine. By creating a smooth surface, you reduce the likelihood of plaque accumulating on the surface as there is minimal opportunity for adhesion. This means that restorations will remain healthy for longer. Choose materials that encourage a durable, natural shine finish for long-lasting results your patients will love.

Clearfil Majesty ES Flow from Kuraray, available through J&S Davis, is the universal flowable composite designed to deliver durable and aesthetic restorations. Available in three levels of flowability, appropriate for different aspects of the reconstruction. These include flow low, super low, and flow high allowing you to execute everything from building posterior cusps and ridges to filling small cavities. Clearfil Majesty ES Flow is a versatile solution that is easy to polish in just seconds – with a long-lasting gloss finish. It also features light diffusion properties to further enhance natural looking aesthetics, allowing the composite to blend seamlessly with the natural tooth structure.

When undertaking composite restorations, ensure you have the materials you need to create a natural looking result. The ability to provide patients with aesthetic, natural-looking restorations may help to improve their confidence and self-esteem, and may even radiate into their social and professional experiences. Many patients will be hoping for treatment that gives them a beautiful and natural-looking smile, so ensure you are using techniques which make such results possible.

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