For as long as most dental patients will remember, any large-scale procedure involved multiple visits. If you were in need of any kind of inlay or onlay, a crown, cap or false tooth, you would need to go to the dentist office to take care of all of the preparation work and then return again to have the final application of the prosthetic tooth completed. This was not because there was any sort of need for a delay in the process from the patient's end, or even the dentist's. Instead, procedures like these were delayed by the dental lab.
Once the teeth that are being corrected are prepped and impressions are completed so as to manufacture a perfect prosthetic which will match the surrounding teeth and be the correct size and shape for the patient's bite, this information is then sent to a dental lab. Inside of that lab is where the prosthetic tooth is manufactured and then sent back to the dentist's office for installation. The actual manufacture of the necessary components may take less than an hour, but generally there is a delay of multiple days due to shipping. During this period, the patient is forced to contend with a temporary placement of a device, designed to serve as a placeholder for the final component to be installed. The need to wait has now been eliminated by scholars who employ the CEREC (Chairside Economical Restorations of Esthetic Ceramic) system in their offices. Today, many procedures that might have taken two visits over the course of three or four days can be completed in less than 60 minutes.
The CEREC system CEREC is also known as a CAD-CAM system. CAD-CAM means Computer Assisted Design and Computer Assisted Milling. CEREC consist of three components:
Acquisition device: A high quality camera and medical grade computer system that photographs the tooth or teeth and renders three dimensional pictures.
Three-dimensional CAD software: Software which allows for analysis of the tooth in a three dimensional setting, including rotation.
Milling device: The device produces the actual prosthetic from a ceramic block that is colored to match teeth perfectly.
The way the system works is that the dentist takes three dimensional impressions during your visit which are loaded into a computer and used to create the necessary components for your restoration while you wait. The new tooth or component can then be cemented directly into place within only a short period of a few minutes that it takes to mill.
Contact your dentist today to inquire about the CEREC system.