What is biomimicry in dentistry?

Dentist making dental contact lenses
Dr. Natália Morales is a specialist in Endodontics, Implantology, Dental Prosthesis and 3d Dentistry and has been dedicated for 14 years to caring for patients with odontophobia. Reference in humanized care.

The human structure is full of different tissues with different functions, both soft and hard tissues. The association of these tissues that form organs and highly specific systems allows the correct functioning of the human body.

When performing a procedure, both the professional and the patient think about the final result. And the expectations are similar: to make the smile closer to the natural one, but preserving its structure and maintaining the vitality of the tooth. It is at this moment that biomimetic dentistry enters, even in restorative processes.

When we need to recover a tooth, it is also necessary to repair the lost tissues, either partially or completely. One of the biggest concerns is that the substitute material presents similarity, both in functional and mechanical characteristics. Roughly speaking, the closer to the body, the better the results.

Biomimetics studies biomaterials, their composition and mechanical behavior, as well as their natural structure to seek better substitutes for the lost structure, which guarantees safer and more efficient results in procedures.

The technological evolution of dental materials in recent years has been enormous. Currently, adhesive systems, resins and ceramics allow us to carry out treatments that have never been so similar to natural teeth. And the more we imitate the tooth, the better the aesthetic result and the durability of the treatment.

Keep reading to stay on top of the subject.

What is biomimicry?

Biomimetics is the area of science that studies the creative principles and strategies of nature, aiming at creating solutions to the current problems of humanity, uniting functionality, aesthetics and sustainability.

The principle of biomimicry is to use nature and biological structures as an example and source of inspiration, not appropriation similar to the practices of synthetic biology.

In the process of learning from nature, it must be consulted, not tamed, reinforcing the idea of sustainability. And it has been used in various fields, such as chemistry, biology, medicine, architecture, agriculture and transport.

In nature, organisms use only the energy they need, as some need to produce their own, through photosynthesis, or to appropriate an alien source through hunting. In addition, they work in cooperation, respect diversity, adapt form to function, optimize use instead of maximizing it, promote recycling and do not waste.

Although discovered by biophysicist Otto Schmitt, the area was popularized by Janine Benyus, a natural science writer from the United States.

Click here and read our article Toothache: Know the 10 main causes

Applications of biomimicry

Scientists have worked based on these concepts and on geometric, mathematical, functional, constructive, technological, behavioral and aesthetic patterns of the living systems observed around us. The results are new ways of growing food, producing materials, generating energy, healing procedures, creating adaptive tools, storing information, and other processes that are sustainable, adaptable, utilize free energy, and integrate organisms.

A very old and well-known example of the application of biomimicry is Velcro. It was bred by George de Mestral after studying how burrs stuck to his dog's fur. When viewing the seed through a microscope, the engineer noticed that it had intertwined filaments and small hooks at the ends. He developed a process that worked the same way.

As another example, we have the decrease in energy use with air conditioning in large buildings, since engineers are relying on the way of cooling termite mounds. The termite home is always humid and at an almost constant temperature regardless of external temperature variation, due to a complex network of chambers and passages. Bottom vents let cool air in, while hot air escapes through an opening at the top.

Biomimicry in dentistry

Biomimicry is an interdisciplinary science that studies biomaterials, involving the evaluation of the composition of natural structures and their mechanical behavior in order to find new and better substitutes for the lost structure.

In dental medicine, Biomimetics has a high applicability. It is directly related to the way to restore and the material chosen for a dental organ that presents structural loss. The dental material must by obligation allow the biomechanical recovery of the original tooth through restoration.

The tooth structure has the same shape and composition for more than 3000 years, formed by enamel, dentin, dentin amelo junction and pulp tissue. The structural variation of the dental organ is due to the action of external forces, such as caries, periodontal disease, parafunctions, chemical and physical attacks, which promote a modification of this system.

Knowledge of the functioning of the dental element becomes essential for the study of Dental Biomimicry, because through the knowledge of the dissipation of the loads of the dental element we will be able to find the best substitute for the lost structure.

Many restorative materials do not respect the need for this mimicry, sometimes due to excessive stiffness, which can cause drastic damage to this structure when there is trauma.

Materials such as metals are excluded from this treatment philosophy. Metals are extremely rigid and unattractive. Due to the rigidity of the metal structures (much greater than that of the tooth), when there is trauma, a fracture usually occurs that condemns the tooth. In a biomimetic restoration, it usually just detaches and the tooth can be retracted or the restoration adhered again.

Aesthetically, metal restorations are also very compromised: they are dark, opaque and have completely different optical properties from natural teeth.

But perhaps the big difference between classical rehabilitation and biomimetic rehabilitation lies in the adhesion of the restorations rather than their mechanical retention. In fact, the evolution of adhesive systems allows us to adhere resins or ceramics to teeth in a way that was not possible before.

Dental ceramics are of particular interest because, due to their optical and mechanical characteristics, they are the material that most resembles tooth enamel. Using current technology, we can create ceramic veneers with a minimum thickness of up to 0.2 mm.

These ceramics, once adhered to the tooth, allow for an extremely aesthetic and natural result. In this way, we manage to restore teeth with minimal wear, or even without wear, simply by adhering the ceramics on them. Ceramic veneers allow you to correct the shape, color, size and position of your teeth.

Based on this, do you consider that it is better to seek the development of stronger and more rigid restorative materials, or to find types of treatment that reproduce the biomechanical behavior of the intact tooth structure?

With the development of dental materials and the advancement of adhesive systems, dentistry currently allows the recovery of the tooth structure in a way that is very close to the characteristics of the original structure.

Here in OdontoLiuzzi, we bring a new concept in dentistry, combining comfort, technology, advanced techniques and a qualified team, offering customers excellence in dental treatments.

Contact us and schedule your appointment!

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