Turns Out You Have Better Things to do with Your Time—by Dr, David Donnelly D.D.S.
Technology today is changing our everyday lives. Many people, however, aren’t aware that technology also is impacting dentistry in new and exciting ways. Cutting-edge innovations in dental instruments are requiring less time in the dental chair, causing less discomfort and creating satisfying results. One breakthrough instrument, called CEREC®, allows dentists to quickly restore damaged teeth with natural-colored ceramic fillings, saving patients time and inconvenience.
What is CEREC®?
CEREC® is an acronym for Chair side Economical Restoration of Esthetic Ceramics. Translated, it means that a dentist can economically restore damaged teeth in a single appointment using a high-quality ceramic material that matches the natural color of other teeth.
How does the instrument work?
CEREC® uses CAD/CAM (Computer Aided Design/Computer Aided Manufacturing) technology, incorporating a camera, computer and milling machine in one instrument. The dentist uses a special camera to take an accurate picture of the damaged tooth. This optical impression is transferred and displayed on a color computer screen, where the dentist uses CAD technology to design the restoration. Then CAM takes over and automatically creates the restoration while the patient waits. Finally, the dentist bonds the new restoration to the surface of the old tooth. The whole process takes about one hour. What does this innovation mean for a patient? A tooth-colored restoration means no more silver fillings discoloring smiles. The filling is natural looking, compatible with tissue in the mouth, anti-abrasive and plaque-resistant. Dentists no longer need to create temporaries or take impressions and send them to a lab. Because of this, the traditional second visit has been eliminated. The CEREC® has over a decade of clinical research and documentation to support the technology. The restorations have been proven precise, safe and effective.
Next, the CEREC® machine helps the Dentist create the restoration for your tooth. The CEREC® 3D software takes the digital picture and converts it into a 3-dimensional virtual model on the computer screen. Your Dentist then uses his or her dental expertise to design the restoration using the CEREC® 3D computer program. 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! Ask us about CEREC® today.
The CEREC® Acquisition Unit is mobile and houses a medical grade computer and the CEREC® camera. Your dentist uses the camera to take a digital picture of your prepared tooth. This picture is used instead of a traditional impression. This means no impression tray and material for you to gag on. The computer and CEREC® 3D software converts the digital picture to a three dimensional virtual model of your prepped tooth. Your dentist then designs your restoration right on screen using the software while you wait (and watch!). This software can assist your dentist with designing any single tooth restoration: crowns, inlays (fillings), onlays (partial crowns), and veneers. Once your dentist has designed your restoration (usually about 5 minutes), he or she clicks a button, and the design data is communicated via a wireless radio signal to the CEREC® Milling Unit.
Your dentist or dental assistant selects a ceramic block that matches the shade of the tooth being repaired. He or she then inserts the block into the Milling Unit. The data from the Acquisition Unit is used to direct two diamond coated burs to carve the block into the indicated shape of the restoration. This process usually takes 8 to 18 minutes depending on the size and type of restoration. After the milling is finished, your dentist polishes the finished filling or crown and bonds it into place.
CEREC® is a registered trademark of Sirona Dental Systems
How can I find out if this is an option for me?
If you believe CEREC treatment might be right of you, call the downtown San Diego dentist, Dr. David M. Donnelly, at 619-231-0822. Dr. David M. Donnelly, DDS has been serving the neighborhoods of West Village, East Village, Hillcrest, North Park, and Balboa Park for years and we would be happy to answer your questions on this new technology.