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Cad Cam Dentistry

Customised three-dimensional images of the prepared teeth are created by scanning the impressions in CAD/CAM dentistry. The scans help to create a virtual design for the restorative device. They are then sent to the milling equipment, which is connected digitally. These design guides offered would help the million machine to create the restoration from a block of the required restorative material.

The acronym stands for computer-aided design or computer-aided manufacturing. The process had been used in the manufacturing industry in order to design machine parts, automobiles and precision tools. However, the technology has been incorporated in the dental industry over the last 2 decades. The technology is used by dentists and the dental laboratories to offer patients with milled veneers, ceramic crowns inlays, onlays and bridges from metal-free materials. It can also be used to create the abutments for the dental implants.

What are the in-office and dental laboratory options from CAD/CAM dentistry?

CAD/CAM technology helps the dental laboratories and the dental practices to create restorations on a computer screen. A 3D customised image is displayed on the screen of the CAD/CAM computer after obtaining the scans. The images can be formed by scanning the traditional model from conventional impressions. The technician or dentist uses the images and CAD software to create the final restoration.

The amount of time required for the in-office restoration would heavily depend on the experience and skills of the technician and also the complexity of the case. While some of the restorations take a few minutes, some might take about half an hour.
The onlay, inlay, crown, bridge or veneer would all be milled from a single block in the milling chamber when the restoration process is completed. After this, the restoration can be offered the necessary glaze and stain, offering a natural look. It is then fired in an oven, following by finishing and polishing.

What are the benefits of CAD/CAM dentistry?

It has been found through practice that the CAD/CAM restorations are better and stronger than the ones milled without such technology. They are also less likely to suffer from a fracture.
Another advantage is that if the dentist has such technology in his office, you might get the service on the same day. The onlays, inlays, veneers or crowns can be made in a single appointment as you wait awhile.
Traditional impressions, a second appointment or temporary restorations are not required if the dentist offers in-office CAD/CAM. Local anaesthetic would be offered once for the required tooth preparations.

When would CAD/CAM dentistry be an option?

Not every tooth can be treated with the CAD/CAM restoration. The dentist would be able to determine if the CAD/CAM restoration is among the treatment options applicable to your case. Despite the improvements, patients might think that the CAD/CAM restorations look a little too opaque and natural characteristics are lacking.

The materials that are available for CAD/CAM dentistry have gotten much better over the years. The restorations today fit better, are more durable and look more natural than the machined restorations available previously.

Authored by Dr. C. Murugavel, M.D.S

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