What began as a mission to develop a technique for chairside ceramic restorations has resulted in a 30-year history of hardware, software and material innovations. As this and other digital systems are developed and evolve, the application of CAD/CAM dental technology continues to provide new treatment opportunities for dentists and their patients.
The evolution of the software and hardware for the CEREC system is guided by developments in the materials available. One notable advancement was the introduction of a lithium-based restorative material that initially was designed to be used for another purpose in the dental laboratory. It then became available in a variety of shades and several translucencies for use in chairside restorations.
Other available ceramic materials for chairside restorations require adhesive agents for bonding of the restorations to achieve clinical success. The enhanced strength of the lithium material makes this possible. (Fasbinder, Dennis J.)
An integral step in the success of chairside dentistry was the ability to record an accurate digital impression of the preparation. The accuracy of any software design program is limited by the accuracy of the data imported into it. Until recently, data recorded by the CEREC camera could be used to design restorations with only the CEREC system.
With the introduction of CEREC Connect systems, the digital impression data acquired by dentists also can be transmitted via the Internet to a dental laboratory, where it can be used to complete any number of CAD/CAM restorations.
The dental laboratory also can use the data to order a model. The fabrication of a model allows the dental laboratory to use any conventional laboratory technique to fabricate alternative restorations, such as gold or porcelain restorations.
As the demand for implant-supported restorations has increased, digital images of implant abutments are being recorded in a process similar to that used for tooth preparations to facilitate the design and delivery of implant-supported restorations. (Fasbinder, Dennis J.)
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