CAD/CAM Dentistry: The Quiet Revolution
Apr 10, 2011 08:51PM
● By Chris Edwards, DDS
There is a quiet revolution going on in dentistry. CAD/CAM dentistry, (Computer Aided Design/Computer Aided Manufacturing) restorations are done in one visit, with no need for temporary crowns. They are non metallic, and very biocompatible. In office restorations are superior in that the resin or ceramic blocks are strong and uniform and manufactured from one piece, outside of the mouth.
There are many benefits to the patient with these non-metallic restorations. They are extremely strong, and enable preservation of healthy parts of the tooth. This minimally invasive approach can lead to a healthier pulp tissue and less chance of needing a root canal treatment. They are more fracture resistant than traditional porcelain over metal crowns and they are less abrasive which prevents wear on the opposing teeth. They are custom designed and are made more exact then other types of crowns promoting a good bite, which has optimal force and promotes long-term periodontal health and a healthier TMJ and muscles.
Fifty percent of all dentists in the United States still use metal in fillings and crowns. Metal fillings contain mercury, a known toxic substance, and their life span is approximately only ten years and due to expansion and design will result in fracture of the remaining tooth. Fractures and recurrent decay if not treated can lead to root canal treatment or need for extraction. Numerous patients are sensitive to some of the metals used in traditional “porcelain fused to metal” crowns, even with the higher quality ‘high noble’ metals. Most all dental metals are alloys, which are combinations of numerous metals. Titanium, used in implantology is perhaps the most biocompatible metal. Research and testing is underway to manufacture all ceramic dental implants.
CAD/CAM all ceramic dentistry is the answer to many dental problems. They are precision made, outside of the mouth, not toxic, are compatible with human tissue, and if properly made they can last a lifetime. There are numerous advantages of being able to make and cement the restoration in one visit. There can be less postoperative sensitivity and a healthy pulp, and of course no need to wear a temporary crown. Newer esthetic materials are strong and can be made extremely thin to make conservative, lifelike all ceramic veneers.
One of the biggest surprises to patients is how lifelike these restorations are. They often will blend with the remaining tooth structure and be undetectable from a natural tooth. Gone are crowns with the dark line at the gum. This enables the preservation of remaining healthy tooth structure.
Dental laboratories that fabricate bridges and more complex restorations are also utilizing CAD/CAM dentistry. Impressions are being taken digitally in the patient’s mouth and the “impressions” are sent by e-mail to the lab. While the patient is still in the chair, the lab can evaluate if any changes are needed and if so they can be made right then and there.
Dr. Chris Edwards practices Minimally Invasive Dentistry and offers CAD/CAM restorations. Smile Design Center is located in Viera. For questions or appointments call 321-771-7775. For information visit www.smiledesigncenter.us.