An innovative (and MUCH better) approach to fixing teeth – biomimetic dentistry – has emerged in our field. So why do only some dentists embrace this approach? Despite its promise of preserving natural tooth structure and improving long-term outcomes, biomimetic approaches are not widely adopted. Let’s explore some reasons.
- Educational Gaps: This is pretty basic. You can’t practice what you don’t know. Biomimetic dentistry represents a departure from traditional approaches, and not all dental professionals may have received comprehensive education and training in this relatively new field. The lack of familiarity with biomimetic principles and techniques can contribute to a reluctance to adopt these approaches.
- “That’s not how WE do it”: Established dental practices often follow time-tested procedures that have been in place for years. Introducing biomimetic techniques may require a significant shift in mindset and workflow, and some dentists may be hesitant to break away from the familiarity of traditional methods.
- Initial Investment and Equipment: Implementing biomimetic dentistry may require an initial investment in specialized equipment and materials. This upfront cost can be a barrier to adopting biomimetic approaches for some dental practices, especially smaller ones or those with limited resources.
- Time: Biomimetic techniques often require significantly more time to complete than a traditional approach. One example would be a composite filling. A traditional approach would be to fill the entire cavity in one (or maybe two) layers. The biomimetic approach requires careful sealing of the exposed tooth surface and then the application of many layers to rebuild the tooth one layer at a time. This takes more time. This may not be feasible for some practices, especially those with a high patient volume.
- Insurance Reimbursement Challenges: Dental insurance policies and reimbursement models are often designed around traditional procedures. Biomimetic procedures often take more time and require more expensive materials. Dentists may be concerned about the financial implications of adopting biomimetic approaches, especially if insurance coverage and reimbursement rates are not aligned with these innovative techniques.
- Patient Education: Introducing biomimetic dentistry requires not only the dentist’s understanding but also effective patient education. Patients may not value the biomimetic approach if they don’t understand its benefits, especially if there is a difference in cost compared to traditional methods.
- Skepticism: Even though biomimetic techniques have been used for many years, some dentists are hesitant to adopt newer methods until they see decades of research and widespread use.
Biomimetic dentistry holds great potential for transforming how we approach tooth restorations, offering benefits such as enhanced preservation of natural tooth structure and improved patient outcomes. However, the journey toward widespread adoption faces hurdles. As the dental community continues to evolve, it’s just a matter of time before these techniques become the standard of care for restorative dentistry.
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