By Brian P. Hall, DMD
About seven years ago our office dove into the world of CAD/CAM dentistry, specifically a CEREC system that allows you to design and manufacture dental crowns and veneers in our office. Shortly before this time, I was a serious doubter of the technology in that I would often see failures of all ceramic crowns. However, my eyes were opened when I got to try the machine in my office and once I was able to fully understand how to use this amazing tool, I don’t think I could ever go back.
I would love to spend a lot of time going over the benefits to other dentists but as a future patient, you probably don’t care. What you want to know is, “Why would I, the patient, want a dentist designed, robot manufactured restoration?” Well, I have plenty of reasons for you:
Only One Visit
You receive most restorations in the same visit with no temporaries. Yes, no temporaries coming off because you forgot and ate some Milk Duds at the movie theater. No second appointment to move your work or school schedule around. Also, if there is a problem during the try-in stage, the restoration can be remade in minutes or recolored in an in-house lab.
In the early days, weaker ceramics were all that was available. With the introduction of lithium disilicate restorations six years ago, all that changed. These were restorations that almost never chip and if made thick enough, will not break under normal loads. Our success rate increased over the traditional porcelain fused to metal (PFM) crowns.
With all-ceramic crowns, light travels through them just like a tooth. This gives them a very natural appearance as opposed to the traditional PFM crowns that have a metal substructure that blocks light and creates a dark band of tooth below.
Preservation of Tooth Structure
Preservation of tooth structure is the name of the game in dentistry today. Patients are routinely living into their 80s and later and they want their teeth to last as long as they do. We do a crown preparation that generally conserves 20 to 25 percent of the tooth over a traditional crown prep. This is especially important on premolar teeth and teeth that have had root canals.
All-ceramic crowns, unlike crowns with metal, can be x-rayed. This allows your dentist to keep a close eye on any issues that may pop up over the years. Also, most of the margins of all-ceramic crowns are kept at or above the gum line which allows for easy maintenance by the patient and easy checking by the dentists at routine hygiene appointments.
I hope this article helps you understand modern all-ceramic restorations made with a CAD/CAM system and their benefits.
Dr. Brian P. Hall General Dentistry is located at 1180 Resurgence Drive Suite 300, Watkinsville, GA 30677 and can be contacted by phone at 706.549.8737.