howard_2013_FURMANIZEDHOWARD STRASSLER, DMD is a professor and the director of operative dentistry at the University of Maryland School of Dentistry. He practices in Pikesville, Maryland. A regular contributor to dental lifestyle magazine, he reflects in this issue on a personal milestone: 40 years in dental academia.

“As everyone on this year’s Incisal Edge 40 Under 40 could tell you, four decades is a long time.  (They’ll all get there someday.) I’m passing a similar mile­stone myself in 2017, as it happens, 40 years in dental academia – as a teacher, researcher, industry adviser and consultant, presenting education programs and writing articles  on the latest materials, techniques, ideas and innovations.”

How has dentistry changed since 1977? Dr. Strassler counts the ways.

  1. Bonding of restorations to the tooth structure.

According to Dr. Howard Strassler, “The first scholarship on this phenomenon was published in 1955, but ’77 was when dentists could finally match bonding to enamel with light-cured super composite resins, thanks to blue-wavelength lights.”

2. Digital dentistry.

“Many focus strictly on dental CAD/CAM, which was introduced in the mid-1980s. The earliest versions were considered novelties — a dental hobby of sorts. When I lectured on CAD/CAM at the American Dental Association in the early 1990s, dentists were hesitant to change — an innate skepticism that is, I freely admit, entirely appropriate.”

3.  Self-adhesive bioactive materials with fluoride release glass-ionomer cements that chemically bonded to the calcium in dentin and enamel.

“Like all new materials, the earliest iterations blended great promise with mixed results — compromises on color and shade matching, plus surface degradation during setting and finishing. Forty years on, however, we have a new generation of bioactive materials as restoratives, better resin-modified glass ionomers and plenty more.”

Got guesses on some other “biggies”? Read Dr. Strassler’s column in the fall edition of Incisal Edge to see if you’re correct: