Certain types of dental restorations have a history of taking multiple steps over a period of time to complete. This has commonly been the case for crowns, inlays, onlays, some veneers and more. Advancements in dentistry have achieved the ability of providing these in a single office visit using CAD/CAM technology.
CAD (Computer Aided Design) and CAM (Computer Aided Manufacturing) are used in many fields, but were introduced into dentistry in the 1980s. However, experts needed time to improve the technology so that it could be used in actual dental practices. It has now become a reality in helping to create durable, perfectly fitting, and aesthetically pleasing restorations in just a few hours.
This technology begins by taking an image of the tooth and affected area within the mouth. The image is used by the software to develop a virtual restoration, and the data is sent to a milling machine. The milling process allows the CAD/CAM technology to fabricate dental restorations from blocks of porcelain or composite resin. Dentists can even select the exact shade for the restoration so that it looks ideal in the patient’s smile. Once the restoration has been created, the dentist places it in the patient’s mouth and bonds it as necessary to complete the process.
One of the greatest benefits of CAD/CAM technology is that it eliminates the need for a temporary restoration. For example, in past procedures for getting a crown, a temporary crown had to be placed while the final one was fabricated in a dental lab, shipped, and finally placed. Receiving the final restoration in one office visit skips that waiting time. Also, patients don’t have to deal with the hassles of multiple appointments. Another advantage is that CAD/CAM technology provides an exact fit that blends well with the real tooth structure. Patients come away with a comfortable, secure, and attractive smile in one day.
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