I am very excited to share with you how CAD-CAM CEREC technology has revolutionized dentistry.
Traditionally and presently, there are still many doctors and lab technicians who love to do porcelain crowns and metal crowns to replace broken or difficult-to-fill teeth with the crowns or large fillings called metal ceramic or porcelain onlays and inlay mades in the laboratories. There are many steps before you as patients can have a crown cemented onto your tooth or teeth.
First, the doctor needs to remove all decay, build-up, trim and make the design of the tooth to have the space and dimensions of bite thickness, axial, resistant and retention features that a new crown will fit. This step every doctor has to follow to make sure the crown will not break or come out when she fits the crown on your tooth.
Then, an impression with gooey material called polyvinyl siloxane light, medium, and heavy body will be made to record the tooth and the bite. This impression of your teeth will be sent to the lab. In the lab, technicians take many steps to complete a crown.
They first pour your impression or mold with stones and wait for the stones to set in 30-40 minutes. The stones have to be the right consistency so it won’t shrink or chip during wax up. After a tooth or teeth are made in wax, they are invested.
After investment, then the tooth can be poured with either gold or a gold-metal alloy combination materials. The technicians then polish the metal crown to make it smooth and shiny to feel good to the tongue and to prevent plaque build-up. In case of the porcelain or porcelain fused to metal, layers of porcelain will be stacked on and placed in an over with the right temperatures and cool down with a long period of time. It then is stained and glazed and let cool down before the crown can be delivered to the dentist. Your dentist will check to make sure the crown fits well on your stone mold and the color match your teeth, the smoothness and no crack from the process of firing and staining and glazing before you come in to receive your crown by cementing or bonding it on your tooth.
Generally it will take at least one or two weeks for you to get the crown from the lab. While you’re waiting for the lab to fabricate your crown, the doctor will give you a temporary crown. However, the temporary crown is not made as nearly well as a permanent crown. It is usually not as pretty and strong. Since it’s only cemented with temporary cement, it can easily pop off. You’ll have to be extra careful when you eat or floss or brush for 2 whole weeks!
After the crown is made, you’ll have to go into the doctor’s office one more time for cementation of the permanent crown. Since there are so many steps and technicians involved in the process, sometimes the crown will not fit your tooth perfectly. In that situation, the doctor will have to take a new impression of your teeth and send the impression back to the lab to re-make the crown. You’ll need to wait for another 2 weeks to get your permanent crown and go into the office one more time for cementation. What a tedious process!
Now comes the exciting news! With CAD-CAM technology, you can get a beautiful crown made right in the office with just one visit. During your visit, the doctor will still need to remove all the decay, place build-up then prepare the tooth for crown the same way they would for a traditional crown. After the tooth is prepared, instead of a messy and uncomfortable 5-minute long impression process, the doctor will simply use an intraoral scanner to make a digital copy of your teeth. This process is much easier and way cooler. Then, you’ll get to see the exact duplicate of your teeth in the computer as a 3-D model. The doctor will simply use software to design the perfect crown for you. You can watch the whole process and the computer will generate a virtual crown on the 3-D model so you can see exactly how your new crown is going to look like before it’s even made! After the design is finalized, the new crown will be milled with 3-D printing technology right in the office. Again, you are welcome to watch your new crown being printed in our 3-D printer.
And guess what, it only takes about 10 to 15 minutes to print your new crown! The doctor will polish and check the fit of the crown then cement it right away. You’ll never need to wait 2 weeks in sometime loose and unfit temporary crowns and worry that it’ll pop off. You’re going home with your new permanent crown the same day! If for any reason, the crown somehow doesn’t fit your tooth perfectly (which rarely happens), the doctor will simply make a new scan of the tooth then print another crown for you. You’ll have to wait 1 more hour at the maximum versus a traditional ill-fitting crown will make you wait another 2 weeks minimum!
A lot of traditional crowns have metal inside the porcelain which sometimes will leave a dark silver rim line along the gum line or a dull unnatural shade . All the CAD/CAM crowns are made with tooth-colored material with no metal core and they’ll mimic the translucency of your natural teeth. It will give you the most natural and beautiful smile.
Next time when you see your dentist, ask him or her about CAD- CAM CEREC 3 D crown. They fit well and they save you time, energy, and money too. They are made in One Visit Only. This video will show you how a CEREC 3D crown is made and why I feel excited and fulfilled every day I see my patients with this new technology.
– Dr. ChauLong Nguyen