Editorial: 150 and Growing Strong!

by Dr. George Freedman

On July 1, we celebrate Canada’s sesquicentennial birthday. Our nation, strong, free, and peaceful, is respected and admired throughout the world. Canada has made tremendous strides over the past 150 years, and the dental profession has kept pace.

In 1867, the Canadian population of 3.5 million had a meager 400 dentists to serve their dental needs. Today, 36 million Canadian residents have access to more than 20,000 dentists. The ratio of dentists has improved from 1 for every 10,000 to approximately 1 per 1,600. At the time of Confederation, itinerant and mostly unlicensed dentists offered extractions, lead or silver-mercury based fillings, and vulcanized rubber dentures. They cared for a population that could anticipate a longevity of only 40-50 years, and had even lesser expectations for maintaining even a partially healthy dentition. In 2017, abundant (and perhaps over abundant) highly–trained and registered dental practitioners provide comprehensive general and specialist services. Canadians enjoy a life expectancy of more than 80 years, and most expect to have fully functional and esthetic natural or restored dentition throughout their entire lives. Exciting new materials, innovative new technologies, and imaginative new treatment modalities have made this both possible and affordably attainable.

In this issue, Oral Health discusses exciting new products and technologies, directions that will enhance the scope of dentistry, and improve Canadians’ oral and systemic health. We examine SDF (silver diamine fluoride), the first proven anti-caries treatment, albeit with some esthetic limitations. An exciting digitally-based technology makes possible single-appointment crowns and inlay bridges; the protocol inverts the traditional clinical preparation-laboratory process. Gingival augmentation with lasers is a brand new path for minimally invasive photo-therapy. A novel plaque-disclosing toothpaste puts effective home care within the reach of every patient and care-giver. The air within the dental practice is finally addressed – what exactly are we breathing in every day, and how do we improve it? As optical scanning begins to replace conventional impression materials, there are other options, such as ultrasonic imaging, which are not affected by saliva and blood.

The improved post-surgical healing process that is attainable with non-prescription, natural alternatives is certainly bound to appeal many patients and practitioners.

Canada offers an excellent (and regulatory-assured) environment for dental professionals to reach for better, newer, and more effective treatment options for their patients. Canada is the place where hard work, effort, and persistence make everything possible for practitioners, auxiliaries, and their patients. This is what puts Canadian dentistry at the pinnacle of the profession worldwide. OH

Happy Birthday Canada, and here’s to the next 150!

About the Editor

Dr. George Freedman is a founder and past president of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, a co-founder of the Canadian Academy for Esthetic Dentistry and the International Academy for Dental Facial Esthetics, and a Diplomate of the American Board of Aesthetic Dentistry. He is Professor and Program Director, BPP University, London, UK, MClinDent programme in Restorative and Cosmetic Dentistry. Dr Freedman received the Irwin Smigel Prize in Aesthetic Dentistry (NYU College of Dentistry). He lectures internationally on cement-free implant restoration, dental esthetics, adhesion, composites, implants, 3D printing, and porcelain veneers and crowns. A graduate of McGill University in Montreal, Dr. Freedman is a Regent and Fellow of the International Academy for Dental Facial Esthetics and maintains a private practice limited to Esthetic Dentistry in Toronto, Canada.