Dr. Nammy discusses biomimetic dentistry, including what it is and how dental appliances can help prevent tooth loss and other dental issues, as well as cosmetic reasons for using biomimetic dentistry techniques.

John Maher: Hi, I’m John Maher and I’m here today with Dr. Nammy Patel, founder of Green Dentistry in San Francisco, California, helping patients recognize the vital connection between dental health and whole body health, and author of the bestselling book, Age With Style: Your Guide to a Youthful Smile & Healthy Living. Today our topic is biomimetic dentistry. Welcome, Dr. Nammy.

Dr. Nammy Patel:  Hi, John.

What Is Biomimetic Dentistry?

John: The obvious question here with this big word is what is biomimetic dentistry?

Dr. Nammy: Bio means natural, our body. Mimetic means mimicry. So, biomimetic dentistry means how do we mimic the natural body? How do we use appliances to mimic the natural body in order to elicit specific response.

How Can Biomimetic Dentistry Help Prevent Tooth Loss?

John: Okay, and how can biomimetic dentistry help to prevent tooth loss or prevent me from having to have procedures done, like crowns and root canals and all of those things that people don’t like about having to go to the dentist?

Dr. Nammy: Absolutely. Biomimetic dentistry is really great in making sure that we prevent the things that cause clenching and grinding and breaking and teeth, which leads to crowns and root canals. We actually use biomimetic synthetic materials to make sure that the jaw is in proper alignment, the top and the bottom. Also, your airway is in the proper alignment so you’re getting good breathing, so there’s no need to clench and grind your teeth. And when you don’t clench and grind your teeth, you don’t have fractures on the teeth, and the teeth don’t chip and break, and you don’t end up needing root canals, which is really nice. Or crowns, as a matter of fact.

Biomimetic Dentistry Treatments

John: Can you specifically describe some of the treatments that you apply that use this biomimetic dentistry technique?

Dr. Nammy: Biomimetic dentistry is something like with patients who have crowding, when they come in and they have a cross-bite, they end up chipping their teeth and breaking their teeth because the teeth are hitting in the opposite way. So, we make them an appliance that actually expands their upper jaw and their bottom jaw to the proper position so they don’t have that interference anymore. They are not clenching and grinding on that tooth, or breaking it any more, even in proper function, so it stops the tooth from breaking or needing a crown or root canal or anything of that nature.

John: When I was a kid I had braces and I had to wear a retainer for a while. Is it sort of similar to a retainer?

Dr. Nammy: It looks like a retainer, but yet it’s specific because it has a specific stimulus, and the material is specific as well, in order to elicit a specific response. So, it looks like a retainer, but it’s actually not. It actually expands the jaw by a really gentle wire. It’s not as hard as what you saw in retainers, and it’s a very gentle pressure, because usually retainers had that painful feeling. This one does not. There is no pain. It’s very comfortable. We’re not pushing on the teeth. We’re just pushing on the areas where they’re designed to grow at the stem cells.

When Is Biomimetic Dentistry Used?

John: And is using these biomimetic dentistry techniques something that I would do now, or just something that I would do when you tell me that I have a problem with my teeth?

Dr. Nammy: It’s something that we would do if you needed it. It could be done as an adult, it can be done as a child. It can be done whenever. The thing is to identify the issue and to really realize, “is it going to serve you best”? Because when we’re looking at using these appliances, we’re not just looking at how to make you look good, we’re looking at how to make you functional. We’re also making sure that you can look good and you can have symmetry in your face, you can have better breathing, you can have teeth that don’t chip and crack and break, and you can have comfort. We’re looking at bringing you all of that in one.

Cosmetic Reasons for Using Biomimetic Dentistry Appliances

John: You mentioned looking better with your face. Can you talk a little bit about the cosmetic reasons for using a device like this?

Dr. Nammy: Yes. A lot of times patients come to me because they have a gummy smile and they really don’t want to do surgery to fix that gummy smile. Or, they don’t really want to put on 16 veneers. And so what we do is we expand their jaw and we look at what they’re actually…look at them with a CT scan…and actually align their jaw, so that way their natural teeth look like they had some work done but it’s actually their natural teeth. And in the process, they are able to get symmetry in their eyes, their nose, their lips, which is really nice, and their jawbone structure.

John: All right, well that’s really great information, Dr. Nammy. Thanks again for speaking with me today.

Dr. Nammy: My pleasure.

John: And for more information about Green Dentistry visit their website at sfgreendentist.com or call (415) 433-0119.