Cerec System can help with cosmetic demands

Nov. 19, 2001
Patients needing decayed, damaged, or chipped teeth restored can now have it done in about an hour.

Patients needing decayed, damaged, or chipped teeth restored can now have it done in about an hour. Cerec(R), a computerized dental restorative system, is being used by a growing number of dentists to digitally design, build and place restorations in one visit, rather than conventional methods requiring two to three visits.

According to Richard Masek, DDS, San Diego, Calif., and president of the Academy of Computerized Dentistry, computer-generated restorations are being widely used as an esthetic alternative to the traditional crown, the most common restoration used to cover or "cap" the damaged or discolored portion of a tooth. To date, close to 2,000 dentists in the United States are utilizing Cerec, the only computerized restorative system for the dental operatory.

"The patient demand is for cosmetically pleasing results in less time, and the Cerec is meeting that demand," explains Masek. "The Cerec System provides a quick, economical way to restore a damaged tooth with metal-free, durable material that matches the natural color of teeth."

In one appointment, the Cerec System uses CAD/CAM (Computer-Aided Design/Computer-Aided Manufacturing) technology, eliminating the need to make traditional impressions or create temporaries.

"In place of the traditional impression, an optical camera is used to take a three-dimensional digital image of the prepared area," says Stuart Ross, DMD, Washington, DC. "The image is then electronically transferred to a computer and software helps us virtually design the restoration on-screen."

When design is complete, the information is sent to a computer-controlled milling unit where, in minutes, diamond burs mill the restoration from a solid block of ceramic or resin-based tooth-colored material.

In addition to creating crowns, the Cerec System can be used to construct any single-tooth restorations such as veneers, ultra-thin laminates used to camouflage gaps and repair chipped, discolored, or worn teeth. Cerec restorations also serve as a safe, esthetic alternative to unsightly silver fillings.

"The system is so precise that it allows us to conserve more healthy tooth structure during the preparation stage. This means less drilling and an outstanding fit," adds Ross.