The dentists at Oakwood Dental Practice in Southampton always consider our patients’ comfort, treatment times and options when investing in new technologies.
The very latest digital technology at our Botley High Street dental practice will be music to the ears of nervous patients and anyone who dislikes having impressions taken.
The Cerec system enables us to design, create and fit a porcelain filling, dental crown or veneer during a single appointment – something that could have taken two to three weeks and required multiple visits in the past.
As well as allowing dental treatment to be carried out in just one visit – without the need for messy impressions or temporary restorations – porcelain fillings crafted using Cerec technology are much stronger and more durable than large amalgam (silver) or white filings, so they last well into the future.
The advantage for nervous patients
We find it a useful way of treating very nervous patients who may require an anaesthetic or sedation to have treatment. Procedures can now be reduced to a single visit, without compromising treatment options.
Improving on traditional methods
To ensure good quality of fit and durability, crowns were traditionally made in a laboratory. This meant that the dentist had to take impressions of the tooth, provide a temporary restoration and see the patient for a second appointment 2-3 weeks later in order to fit the crown.
How digital dentistry works
Dentistry now benefits from digital design and manufacturing processes used in the engineering sector called CAD/CAM technology.
The CAD/CAM digital process in dentistry involves 3 easy steps.
- After carefully preparing the broken down tooth, a digital camera is used to take a few pictures of the tooth from different angles. This replaces the previous impression taking stage.
- These pictures are uploaded to a computer where software proposes the best design for the crown; this process is called computer-aided design (CAD).
- When the dentist is happy with the design the proposal is sent to a second unit – a Cerec milling machine – which is able to shape the crown from a porcelain block. This process is called computer-aided manufacturing (CAM).
The crown can be checked in the mouth for optimal contact with other teeth, biting function and fit on the tooth surface, before final glazing and cementation.
The introduction of digital technology saves surgery time and also provides clinical control of the design and bespoke fitting, which is very specific to each patient.