My neighbor has been making treks to a teaching hospital in San Antonio, where he is receiving stellar care at excellent rates. He's having a whole series of dental implants -- the sort of treatment that would have been unthinkable a few decades ago, when the automatic course would have been to extract his teeth and replace them with dentures.
My wealthiest relative made a fortune in the 1960s with a newfangled process for casting and producing dentures very quickly. Apparently the traditional process had required a much longer and more uncomfortable procedure for the patient as well as an extended delay in manufacture.
Some months back, I believe I may have mentioned an article about an experimental treatment being developed in Japan that offered hope for treating infected roots that up to now would have required a root canal. Today's news brings word of a new Japanese "tooth patch" made of a very thin, flexible layer of the primary ingredient in natural tooth enamel. The material is draped onto a tooth and fixed in place with lasers. Early versions are transparent and invisible, but work is underway to make white, opaque versions for cosmetic purposes: capping without grinding. The tooth patches should help dentists eliminate tooth sensitivity resulting from worn-enamel and exposed dentin.
Pain-free chewing into old age is a very recent development in human history and one of the crowning glories of civilization.