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The Future of Restorative Dentistry


Dr. Harald Heymann joined Dr. John O’Keefe on this conversation about the future of restorative dentistry. Read the highlights and enjoy the audio conversation!


In this video, Dr. John O’Keefe speaks to Dr. Harald Heymann about the way restorative dentistry may be practiced in the future. While there are advances and improvements in the field of restorative dentistry with respect to adhesives, cements and restorative materials, there is little expectation that there will be any profound changes in this area. Thus far, digital technology has had the biggest impact on dentistry to date from radiography, smile design, implants, digital impressions and fabricating restorations.

As expected, the game-changing digital applications in daily practice will likely be the capture of images and impressions to be used in CAD-CAM systems for designing and building restorations. Physical storage space of these images and the models is less onerous on the dental practitioner and practice. However, the high costs of digital technologies as well as their rapid evolution present additional challenges for practitioners which must be considered carefully before investments are made.

Conventional tooth preparations will likely remain status quo for some time as the design of tooth preparations are dictated by the materials which are used to fill and restore teeth. However, it is not inconceivable, in the future, to have intraoral milling devices that are computer-driven to restore teeth.

With respect to dental materials, researchers and industry will continue to search for the “ideal” tooth-coloured biomimetic material that has virtually no shrinkage. There may also be a movement towards calcium silicate materials that may adhere better to enamel and dental and behave more like natural tooth structures.

With the ever-changing landscape, especially in this digital age, lifelong learning will play an essential role in keeping dentists up to date. Organizations will also be necessary to help maintain the quality and credibility of continuing education that is available and presented within the dental profession.

Download the interview audio file (MP3)

Listen to the audio interview




Heymann, Harald_4x6Dr. Harald O. Heymann, D.D.S., M.Ed.

Dr. Heymann is past Chair and Graduate Program Director of the Department of Operative Dentistry and currently is the Thomas P. Hinman Distinguished Professor of Operative Dentistry at the UNC School of Dentistry.
Dr. Heymann has been particularly active in the clinical research of esthetic restorative materials and is the author of over 200 scientific publications.
He is a member of the Academy of Operative Dentistry, the International Association of Dental Research, and is Past-President and a Fellow of the American Academy of Esthetic Dentistry. He is also a Fellow in the International College of Dentists, the American College of Dentists, and the Academy of Dental Materials. He also has served for many years as a consultant to the ADA.
Dr. Heymann also is Co-Senior Editor of The Art and Science of Operative Dentistry, historically, the #1 selling dental textbook in the world. Dr. Heymann is also the Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Esthetic and Restorative Dentistry. Dr. Heymann has given over 1,400 lectures on various aspects of esthetic dentistry worldwide and has received the Gordon J. Christensen Award for excellence as a CE speaker.


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