Smile of the Future To Be Shaped by Genetic Research of Today


NEW YORK – Although genetically designed smiles are predicted for the future, today’s dentists are working with the latest technology to engineer smiles for a lifetime, according to Ronald Goldstein, DDS, practicing dentist, author, and clinical professor of Oral Rehabilitation, Medical College of Georgia, School of Dentistry, Augusta.

“We are looking at the many possibilities in the future application of today’s ongoing research,” the Atlanta practitioner explained to attendees at the American Dental Association’s National Media Conference, held last week. “For example, there is much anticipation about research in gene therapy and tissue engineering; the possible use of tooth regeneration techniques instead of dental implants and the use of more biocompatible materials in helping to improve one’s smile.”

“Current advances in cosmetic dentistry,” he explained, “now offer patients new opportunities in esthetic restorative procedures that have the potential to reverse the signs of dental aging, making them look younger.”

Today, a state-of-the-art comprehensive imaging system helps predict what a new smile will look like before the dentist does any work. Dentists are using computer-assisted anesthesia systems that numb teeth, a laser that removes decay and computer-aided design and manufacturing to construct all-ceramic restorations. And they are using the most modern restorative materials that are more natural looking than what we have known before, he added.

The dental profession’s traditional role in the past has centered on the eradication of oral diseases, the practitioner and educator said. “But today that role has been expanded to improve the shape of the mouth and face,” he added.

People are living longer and this aging population has an increasing number of natural teeth, Dr. Goldstein said. “And the physical and esthetic attributes of aged teeth are identifiable and, over time, alter the appearance of the teeth and smile.”

Goldstein, author of “Change Your Smile,” also cited research that the public places an increasing priority on a healthy and attractive smile, and that the value of one’s teeth has taken on greater importance to the baby-boomer and subsequent generations.

“The effort to meet this need has become a multibillion-dollar industry and is fueled increasingly by the desire for whiter, brighter, younger-looking smiles,” Goldstein said.

Edited by Chris Smith

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