Because Your Dentist Values YOUR Time
Let's face it, very few of us have perfect teeth, free of decay and fillings. You can probably see a filling or two in your own mouth, which do just that -- "fill" a cavity, or hole, in your tooth left from the excavation of decayed tooth structure. In many cases, those fillings are made of metal material and can go bad, weaken the tooth, or get additional decay under or around it. In fact, 1.2 billion of these metal fillings will need to be replaced in the next 10 years.* Dental CAD/CAM is a method used by thousands of dentists worldwide since 1987 not only to replace these fillings, but also to restore any tooth that is decayed, weakened, broken, etc. to its natural strength and beauty. Better yet, it's done with all-ceramic materials that are tooth colored in a single appointment! So, how does dental CAD/CAM technology work?
Exam and Preparation
Your Dentist examines the tooth and determines the appropriate treatment. It could be a simple filling, or a full crown, depending on how much healthy tooth structure is remaining and the clinical judgement of your Dentist. Next, he or she administers an anesthetic and prepares your tooth for the restoration, removing decayed and weakened tooth tissue. This preparation is just like he or she would do for many other restorative techniques.
Then, your Dentist takes an Digital Impression of the prepared tooth, instead of filling a tray with impression "goop" that you must bite into and hold in your mouth until it hardens. Your then Dentist takes a digital impression of your tooth. This whole Digital Impression process only takes a minute or two.
Next, the CAD/CAM system helps the Dentist create the restoration for your tooth. The 3D software takes the digital impression and converts it into a 3-dimensional virtual model so your Dentist can then use his or her dental expertise to design your restoration. Within a few minutes, your Dentist clicks a button, and the restoration design data is sent to a separate milling machine in the office. A ceramic block that matches your tooth shade is placed in the milling machine. About 10-20 minutes later, your all-ceramic, tooth-colored restoration is finished and ready to bond in place. Finally, your Dentist tries the restoration in your mouth to ensure proper fit and bite. The restoration is then polished and bonded to the prepared tooth. Your tooth is restored with no "temporary" or return trip necessary. All of this is done in a single appointment!
*Harvard Health Letter, March 2000; NIDR of NIH, Dental Amalgam Study, 1993.