CEREC technology is making visits to the dentist – even for complex procedures such as crowns – simple and fuss-free.
Thanks to technologies like CEREC, getting a crown, or having part of a tooth replaced, is a lot simpler and quicker than it used to be. And the results we are able to get as dentists are very satisfying, for both the patient and for us.
CEREC technology has been around for thirty years now. The technology has been refined over that time so that it is simple to use. The majority of modern dentists are embracing CEREC technology, whether it’s here in WA or across the rest of Australia. It gives the patient the benefit of having everything done in one visit instead of having to wait for two weeks.
CEREC is a 3D imaging system for your teeth. What happens here is we just take photos of the tooth – what we call a digital impression. Then we prepare the tooth for a porcelain filling or a crown, or full coverage.
We use very advanced software to view the photos of the tooth. We start designing what needs to be put on this tooth, whether it’s a crown or a filling. Then we adjust everything digitally on the software. The patients get involved as well. They actually have a look and see how things are going. They get really interested because they get to see the tooth made in front of their eyes.
After we finish this design on the CEREC software, it is sent to a milling machine, and we place a porcelain block in there – the blocks that we use are made in Germany and tested in labs for their efficiency and their strength. The milling machine then starts copying what we have just designed, shaving the block off into the piece of the tooth that we need to replace.
We then take the crown, try it in the person’s mouth, and then we give it a very high polish, a very high glaze, and bond it to the tooth surface all in one go.
Another benefit for both the dentist and the patient is that CEREC technology reduces the number of people handling a crown—the process is controlled by one person only—and that’s the dentist. If any problems occur afterwards, there’s only one person responsible. CEREC reduces the number of other steps in the process, removing the potential for human error.
The reliability of time frames is also increased by CEREC – in the past, if the lab couldn’t finish the job on time we’d have to postpone appointments with patients, or they would have to persevere for longer with a temporary filling. Perhaps the regular lab technician was on holiday, so we’d have to use a different lab and it might be harder to communicate with them. CEREC technology has helped us bring these sorts of variables back within our control.
Labs are obviously still vital and they’re doing an important job – but for simple small tooth replacements like crowns, CEREC technology is definitely a lot better and easier for patients.