Shaping Dentistry with CAD/CAM Technology
CAD/CAM technology and metal-free materials are used by dentists and dental laboratories to provide patients with milled ceramic crowns, veneers, onlays, inlays and bridges. Dental CAD/CAM also is used to fabricate abutments for dental implants, used to replace missing teeth.
Used by dentists and their staff (or a laboratory technician) to design restorations on a computer screen. The CAD/CAM computer displays a 3-D custom image of your prepared tooth or teeth obtained by digitally capturing the preparations with an optical scanner.
The dentist or laboratory technician then uses those 3-D images and CAD software to draw and design the final restoration. The amount of time it takes for a dentist, in-office restoration designer or laboratory technician to design a restoration varies Some cases could take minutes, while others could require a half-hour or more of design time to ensure quality.
Once the final restoration is designed, the crown, inlay, onlay, veneer or bridge is milled from a single block of ceramic material in a milling chamber. The restoration then can be customized to create a more natural look, before being fired in an oven (similar to ceramics and pottery), and then finished and polished.
Benefits of CAD/CAM Dentistry
Research suggests that today's milled CAD/CAM restorations are stronger. One of the advantages of CAD/CAM technology is the technology in office, same day may be a treatment option. All-ceramic bridge restorations require a second office visit to insert the bridge. Another exception is if your dentist prefers to fabricate the CAD/CAM restoration while you are not in the office, making it a two-appointment process.
Cost of CAD/CAM Restorations
All-ceramic restorations, including those fabricated at a dental laboratory using CAD/CAM technology, tend to be a more expensive restorative solution. Because the materials for CAD/CAM restorations cost more, the expense incurred by the dental laboratory and/or the dentist may not be covered by the insurance.
Also, there is additional fee or cost to have a restoration placed in one visit as opposed to two.