Cerec AC Connect is a great addition to our office. This technology allows us to take an impression via a camera, eliminating a tray full of gooey material. Virtual impressions taken with this technology are accurate, quick and much more comfortable than traditional impressions. Once the images are taken they are sent immediately to our lab, where within minutes the images are received and fabrication of the most state of the art crown is completed via a computer milling machine. Our lab is in the Grand Rapids area allowing us to work closely with talented technicians who will return your crown the same day if needed.
A tooth that has been structurally damaged by decay or trauma sometimes needs to be crowned or “capped” so that it can look good and function properly again. A crown is a durable covering that is custom-made to fit over the entire tooth from the gum line up.
Advanced dental technology known as Computer-Aided Design/Computer-Aided Manufacturing, or CAD/CAM, makes it possible to fabricate laboratory-grade crowns and other dental restorations in minutes. It's an amazing innovation when you consider that traditionally, crowns took many steps to fabricate and weeks of waiting. Now you can have a restored tooth without the wait.
Best of all, studies have shown that CAD/CAM tooth restorations are just as successful as crowns made with traditional materials and techniques. And the amazingly lifelike appearance of a CAD/CAM crown means that no one will know your tooth has been restored.
How It Works
The process of crowning a tooth starts out the same way, whether it's a CAD/CAM crown or traditional crown: with “preparation” of the tooth. This involves removing any decay that's present, and shaping the tooth with a dental drill so that it will fit perfectly inside the crown. But the similarities end there.
If you were getting a traditional crown, the next step would be to take an impression (mold) of your teeth with a putty-like material, and use it to construct a model on which to create the crown. With a CAD/CAM crown, your teeth are simply given a light dusting of reflective powder and then a small scanning wand attached to a computer is used to take digital pictures inside your mouth. In seconds, the computer will generate a highly accurate 3D model of your teeth. But it gets even better.
With the help of the CAD/CAM software, your crown will be sent in minutes to our Grand Rapids Lab. The software can even be used to create a mirror-image twin of the same tooth on the other side of your mouth, for the most natural-looking result possible. At the lab a block of dental ceramic material is chosen in the shade that most closely matches your own teeth. The computer's digital design is transmitted to a milling machine that carves the crown from the ceramic block in about five minutes.
Once the crown's fit has been verified, and any necessary aesthetic enhancements have been made to the crown's surface (staining and glazing, for example), the crown will be ready. With a traditional crown, you would have to wait for several weeks while the permanent crown was being fabricated. With a CAD/CAM crown, you walk out with the real thing that day or a few days later.
Caring for Your CAD/CAM Crown
Crowned teeth require the same conscientious care as your natural teeth. Be sure to brush and floss between all of your teeth — restored and natural — every day to reduce the build-up of dental plaque. When you have crowns, it is even more important to maintain your regular schedule of professional cleanings at the dental office. Avoid using your teeth as tools (to open packages, for example). If you have a grinding habit, wearing a nightguard would be a good idea to protect your teeth and your investment. A well-cared-for CAD/CAM crown will last for years to come.
Creating In-Office Dental Restorations With Computers Once upon a time, dentists — and patients — needed to wait weeks for a dental laboratory to make crowns and other dental restorations. Now, with an exciting digital technology known as Computer-Aided Design/Computer-Aided Manufacturing (CAD/CAM), some dentists are fabricating high-quality restorations themselves right in their own offices — in minutes... Read Article
Porcelain Crowns & Veneers Dear Doctor magazine examines two innovative strategies for improving your smile. In many instances, these two restorative techniques can produce nearly identical aesthetic results, even though they are designed differently for handling different structural problems... Read Article