CEREC is an acronym for Chairside Economical Restoration of Esthetic Ceramics. I started performing CEREC dentistry in 2007 and have never looked back. CEREC has gone through three generations of scanning technology since I began, and it continues to evolve and get better.
The first CEREC restoration was placed in Zurich in 1985, and since then the progression in the technology has been truly astounding. We’ve gone from simple porcelain restorations, to multiple restorations, to implant restorations, and finally to CEREC Orthodontics. There are now even newer features that allow us to do smile design, dynamically see how the bite is working, and (in the near future) track wear and movement of an individual’s dentition over a long-term record. We can even pre-design implant restorations then combine them with a 3D scan of the bone and be able to accurately predict where to place a dental implant and what size This is all guided with special stents to minimize risk to the patient.
To put it plainly, we have the ability to deliver durable, precise, esthetic porcelain restorations in just one visit to the dental office. No impressions, no temporary crowns, and usually done in about 90 minutes!
Essentially, we scan the opposing arch, the prep, and then the bite with an intraoral camera. The software then digitizes the models and the bite. We design and manipulate the restoration virtually on the computer and the proposal is sent to a milling chamber. The restoration is then milled out of a block of porcelain with diamond burrs. We then verify fit of the restoration in the mouth and it is bonded into place that same visit.
Even the materials keep evolving. I had essentially one type of porcelain to choose from in 2007. The evolution of high-strength ceramics has allowed for greater reliability and applications for our patients. We can now be confident that we have strong enough materials to withstand heavy bite forces in the back of the mouth and for implant restorations. In addition, there are new materials with built-in resiliency (i.e. flex) and possible crack-resistance that can mill to a very fine edge. These are also showing to be very versatile in their application.
Another great advantage to our ceramics is that they can be bonded (not just cemented) to the tooth. As a result, we can design restorations that are much more conservative and thus better for the long-term health of the tooth. Our margins (edges of the restoration) can also be prepared above the gum line which allows for easier access for oral hygiene and less risk of decay.
Bonding restorations also strengthen the teeth, and often allow us to provide restorations in areas that would traditionally require a surgery called crown lengthening (due to inadequate tooth height to retain a cemented restoration).
If you have any questions about CEREC please feel free to call our office!
Jason S Harvey, DMD
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