The restorative dentistry industry – the inside scoop…

We recently caught up with Kerr UK, a company that designs and manufactures products for all aspects of modern restorative dentistry. With an unrivalled heritage of over 130 years, the Kerr team provides its customers and their patients with unrivalled peace of mind, alongside a proven evidence base stretching back decades.

Kerr understands that the challenges you face with indirect and direct procedures are incredibly complex. They simplify those complexities with the right tools. From using preferred material to designing groundbreaking solutions, Kerr creates the utmost value in their products. With a sonic-activated composite, and a truly universal bonding agent, they drive innovation together with clinicians.

The evolution of materials science

Let’s take a step back in time together for a moment, to see how all this evolved. Modern-day explorers have thus far found a filling material that dates back 13,000 years, with evidence suggesting the material of choice was bitumen, although the fillings themselves were missing.

Over the intervening years, filling materials have included beeswax, wood, cork, small bits of stone and, of course, metal amalgams and gold. Thank goodness for materials science evolution!

It was in the 1950s that the word ‘composite’ was first introduced to dentistry and, in the 1960s, the first conventional composite came into use, although it was contra-indicated for use in posterior restorations.

Comprehensive composite

Since then, the composite market has evolved into a dynamic and competitive category. In part, this has been led by patients’ growing demands for aesthetic solutions and some concerns over the safety of amalgam.

In addition, compared to previous filling materials, composite use requires little tooth preparation, fulfilling the desire for minimally invasive dentistry.

Composite has so much going for it that Dr Lee Ann Brady, the Director of Education for The Pankey Institute, once called composite resin the ‘go to’ material for restorations in both the anterior and posterior.

Particle size matters

Today, a universal nanohybrid composite with high polishability and gloss retention, which also retains the superior physical properties associated with microhybrids, leads the way.

Looking at the technical aspects in terms of aesthetics, the smaller the particle size, the easier it is to polish the restoration. While many composites have an average filler size of 0.6 micron or more, Kerr’s Point 4, Premise, and Herculite Ultra, for example, contain an average filler size of 0.4 micron, therefore displaying an unrivalled ability to polish as they match the refractive index of enamel.

Over time, resin in a composite restoration wears off, exposing glass fillers and creating a rough surface. When light shines on this rough surface, if the filler size is larger than the average wavelength of light (at 0.5 micron), the light will be highly diffused, leaving the surface dull, consequently a decrease in gloss occurs.

However, for filler size smaller than 0.5 micron, the particles act more like a liquid and appear as part of the resin due to their small size, and do not interact with light. As a result, gloss is retained over time despite resin wear.

Flowability and tension

Meanwhile, some of these same composite brands incorporate Smart Placement Technology thanks to a rheological additive. This helps to reduce surface tension as the composite comes into contact with the tooth surface under pressure, allowing the material to flow to the boundaries of the restoration.

The same additive encourages higher surface tension after the material has been placed. The formula also guarantees flexural strength as well as excellent gloss retention and the aforementioned easy polishability.

A strong bond

And where would we be without a strong bond? After all, both enamel and dentine are now routinely etched and bonded, having been proven to be safe, time and again, when the correct procedure is followed.

Furthermore, total-etch and self-etch options are now available, both of which have an important place in the clinician’s toolkit.

As Walter Renne, a Professor at the Medical University of South Carolina tells us, ‘Our current adhesive system options are total-etch and self-etch variants. Without a patent and durable bond with high bond strength, restoration failure will occur with the breakdown of the bond even if all other aspects of the restoration are sound. Selecting a clinically proven adhesive ensures that you are choosing a material capable of performing under real-life conditions.’

Success at your fingertips

In the expert hands of dentists, the right products combined with evidence-based technology can, without a doubt, improve treatment outcomes.

Technology is ever evolving and what the future holds in terms of restorative dentistry is in the able hands of dental scientists and will be rolled out as soon as the evidence base is there, so watch this space!

In the meantime, your patients and your practice depend on you, and you can depend on us.

If you would like to know how you can work in partnership with Kerr to meet your needs and those of your patients, please visit here or contact your local rep or preferred dealer.

If you have any questions in regards to your practice products or general practice queries, you can reach our team via [email protected], or call us on 03333 055 631. 

Brady LA. Direct composite resins continue to evolve. Dentistry Today 2012; 31(10): 128-131
Milnar FJ. The evolution of direct composites. Compendium of Continuing Education in Dentistry 2011; 32(1): 79-81
Renne WG. Total-etch vs. self-etch adhesives. A case-dependent choice. Kerr News 2014; June: 11-13

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