When a tooth needs a restoration, we can often use CAD/CAM technology. The letters “CAD/CAM” stand for “computer-aided design” and “computer-aided manufacturing”. We can use this technology (CAD/CAM camera and milling machine) to custom-design and fabricate tooth-colored restorations, crowns, onlays, inlays, or veneers – all in one appointment!
CAD/CAM restorations have several advantages:
- They are very accurate.
- Only a minimal amount of tooth preparation is needed, leaving more of the healthy tooth structure intact.
- They usually require only one appointment, even when we are working on more than one tooth.
- The restorations are made of tooth-colored materials.
The first step is to numb the area to make you comfortable. Depending on the situation, we may also use a rubber dam to protect your mouth while we work.
We remove any decay and shape the tooth with the handpiece. Next, a reflective powder is applied to the prepared tooth. This allows the equipment to “see” the contours of the prepared tooth.
We then take a digital image using a special optical infrared camera that records the tooth’s exact dimensions on the CAD/CAM computer. Using this image and the specialized Sirona computer software, we carefully design the restoration.
We then select the appropriate material in the matching shade for your specific tooth. This material is placed in the milling machine which shapes it into a custom-fitted restoration.
We then try in the new restoration. We add any custom coloring as needed, bond or cement the restoration in place, and polish it to a beautiful luster.
Finally, we check your bite and make any final adjustments.
CAD/CAM restorations are often the best choice for a healthy, beautiful, and natural-looking smile.