“Necessity is the mother of all inventions” or so goes the famous saying. The purpose of that quote is to highlight the fact that whenever humanity’s necessity reaches a certain threshold, there will always be a need to have it fulfilled. It is this principle that has led to the invention of some of the most ingenious and miraculous devices and inventions are known to humanity today.
It was our need to have devices that could carry out our daily menial household and corporate functions for us that led to the invention of computers, the need to stay constantly connected is what laid the foundations for the internet, while our need to have this method of connection be portable is what led to smartphones. Our needs dictate what the next groundbreaking invention will be. The demand and supply equation fits here perfectly as an example of how we respond to our everyday needs.
These needs are not just limited to our technical needs. One of the reasons we feel relieved to be alive in this era instead of any other is because of access to medicals services that are far superior to those that I our ancestors ever did. One clear example of this is acrylic resin.
The next question at this point is probably expected i.e. what exactly is an acrylic resin? Well, acrylic resin is one of the most overlooked yet important inventions to have ever been designed. One of the reasons for that is its unique ability to be equally relevant to the medical and engineering fields. It is considered as nothing less than a miracle in terms of its dental implications.
So what’s the history of acrylic resin? How is it a dental miracle? What are its industrial applications?
The acrylic resin was first synthesized around the year 1900 AD. The mind behind the invention of something so vital was supposedly Dr Otto Rohm. The exact reasons for its importance are based around the fact that it is a unique mixture of plastic and cluster that offers optical clarity, weatherability, combination of stiffness, density and perhaps its most important ability, toughness.
In short, this is an element that makes it easier for constructors to build structures that can endure different and harsh weather conditions and managed to transform the construction industry all across the world. It wasn’t long until someone realized that there was a lot more potential in this little element than most people realized.
It was because of this belief that acrylic resin got its first medical application i.e. use in dental services. It is frequently used by dentists in order to ease the pain of their patients.
However, there has been a constant debate that acrylic resin applications had been in use long before Rohm came up with his inventions. There are reports that the earliest example of an acrylic resin-like substance was the early fabrication of the orthodontic appliances that were introduced by Charles Goodyear as far back as 1839.
It was because of this blueprint that it was then used by CA Hawley in a removable design. These designs made it possible for people to have these acrylic resins in their mouths long before Rohm’s invention.
One thing that almost everyone agrees on is Rohm’s contribution in introducing a cold-cured version of acrylic resin that is still in use today.
Today, it is perhaps a dentist’s best friend because of the number of ways it can help them. So what exactly are these uses and how do they mutually benefit the users of the acrylic resin as well as the dentists themselves?
Cavity Filling Materials
This was a problem that has long plagued the civilian population but was nothing less than a nuisance to the dentists themselves since they could not solve the problems of their patients who were suffering terribly by having their cavities decay. Up until then, dentists had no other option other than to simply prescribe their patients some painkillers to deal with the pain. This worked well at first, but there came a time when this was nothing more than a coping mechanism. People needed a permanent solution.
The introduction of acrylic resin in the market allowed the dentists to incorporate these compounds into their practices and use them on their patients. This proved to be great hit and gave dentists the opportunity to finally cure the cause of the pain as well as the misery of their patients.
It proved beneficial in two different ways for the customers. Not only were they finally relieved of their pain for good, but they had a permanent solution that actually worked. For too long had they been dependent on pain killers to provide them temporary relief. While there was some alleviation of pain, it almost always led to greater problems going forward.
However, thanks to acrylic resin, they had the comfort of knowing that if their cavities suffered from the sort of damage that would leave their teeth in terrible condition, they could always ask their dentists to use acrylic resin and fix their teeth from the inside.
These materials and their quality was so good that they’re still used today and are considered as perhaps the most effective way to deal with cavity problems.
This is another area where the dentists surely benefited from acrylic resin. The acrylic resin applications are not just restricted to the actual use of acrylic resin either. These can be used in a very effective and efficient way by the dentists to ensure that their equipment is equipped properly to deal with the quality standards as well as the health measures set by the different medical boards. The resin-based equipment is considered good for three reasons.
The first reason is that it eliminates any chance of the patients developing allergic reactions to any of the medical equipment used by the dentists. It has been observed in the past that due to the nature of the equipment used by the dentists, certain equipments may cause more harm than good for certain patients. However, acrylic resin eliminates that possibility completely as they’re a 100% safe for use with a guarantee of no allergic or foul reactions.
Secondly, the construction of the acrylic resin is supposed to be dentist friendly. These can be molded in order to fit the size and need of any medical equipment that a dentist wants to use. Its flexibility in usage makes it a must-have item for any dentist.
Thirdly, it provides an inexpensive alternative to some of the other equipment available. Acrylic resin is often used in mixing bowls because not only is it effective and reusable, but it also allows the dentist to adjust the bowl depending on how much work needs to be done on each patient’s teeth.
This is another use where both the patient and the dentist are winners. There was a time when after doing the necessary cavity repair on teeth, there wasn’t much else that dentists could do. While this did solve some of the pain related problems that many patients complained of, there were certain things like the look of the teeth that did quite provide the kind of results they were looking for.
It was because of acrylic resin that dentists were able to come up with crowns as well as bridge facings that allowed the patients to be rid of the pain related to their teeth but also be free of any embarrassment related to missing teeth.
Another benefit of opting for this was that it eliminated the possibility of the teeth getting damaged again. If a patient just had a root canal, the bridge and the crown would ensure that that particular tooth would never be damaged again. This allowed the patients and the dentists to have a certain peace of mind.
While crows did solve a lot of problems that patients and dentists had. There were some instances when the bridges or the crowns didn’t need to be permanent. There are certain dental procedures where patient might only be required to have an acrylic resin based crown for a specific time period. In such cases, the patient could opt for a temporary crown.
One of the benefits of the acrylic resin crown is that these are not permanent. These can be applied whenever the patient requests and can be removed in a similar fashion as well. It also allows the dentists to use differing method of treatment without worrying about decaying the teeth. This allows them to test out different treatments while protecting the teeth and monitoring the results they provide.
Similarly, these acrylic resin based elements can be used for bridges as well. So even if you’ve gotten a permanent crown, you can opt for a temporary bridge in order to make sure that you never end up with a crown that is ill-fitted.
The flexibility to remove your crown or bridge if a patient doesn’t feel comfortable or satisfied with the result is what makes it so good.
Athletic Mouth Protectors
This is probably a use where the traditional benefits are not just limited to patients. The acrylic resin based elements have allowed sports manufacturers to come up with mouth protectors that allow sportsmen to protect their mouth.
The best example of this sports-use of acrylic resin is in boxing and other full-body contact sports. It allows them to not worry about any damage to their teeth. There was a time when incurring serious damage to one’s teeth was a serious worry that a lot of these sportsmen had.
And while the worry was very much legitimate there was no practical way to avoid these injuries and it was very much considered a vocational hazard. This was until sports came under the practical acrylic resin applications.
Dentists had been using these acrylic resins to protect the teeth of their patients during procedures for a very long time. It only made sense that if these elements could be used to protect the teeth of patient during extensive medical procedures then they could be used to protect the teeth of sportsmen as well.
Apart from boxing, these acrylic resin based compounds have been used by other sports such as American football and MMA. The results have been extremely positive and have now become an industrial standard.
This is just another example of how a great invention like the acrylic resin can be used in more ways than they were originally intended if creativity and innovation is applied to them.
This is a use specifically for the dentists. The acrylic resin can be used to create real-life models of teeth and make it possible for patients to see what would the changes that their teeth will go through if they choose a certain dental procedure. These allow the patients to have a physical model of their own teeth and assess whether they want the kind of changes that the procedure would do.
It can also help them understand some of their own dental problems better. Dentists use these impression trays all the time to tell their patients where their problem lies and how will they address that problem.
This is another area where dentists are incredibly grateful for the invention of acrylic resin. These elements can be used to create sealants that can then be used to seal tooth heads that might be cracking or leaking. Cracks on top of teeth can cause severe pain as well as the chances of damage of the internal enamel of the teeth. Any damage to that internal structure of the teeth can be permanent, not to mention extremely painful.
Dentists can simply create an acrylic resin-based solution and seal off the top of the tooth that is developing this crack and then be free of this problem. For the patients, not only is this an much more inexpensive alternative to a root canal surgery, but it can often save them from making things worse through their eating habits.