Date published: January 1, 2010
An advanced technique allows dentists to restore damaged teeth and aging fillings in one visit. CEREC-3D (Chairside Economical Restoration of Esthetic Ceramics) combines digital imaging and computer-aided design and manufacturing (CAD/CAM). The method minimizes the amount of a tooth that must be removed. CEREC-3D is offered by relatively few dentists in the United States.
With this instrument, a damaged tooth can be repaired with durable material in about an hour. An impression does not need to be taken. This is a significant improvement over traditional treatments, which can take several separate appointments with anesthesia needed each time. Because everything is completed in one visit, patients do not need to wear temporary restorations.
"The advantages of CEREC are numerous," said Dr. Andrew Spector, who practices in Haworth, New Jersey. He has been using the method for at least five years.
He says, "Patients get laboratory-quality porcelain restorations that are actually stronger than the lab-created ones. The material has properties very similar to enamel, with less breakage and relatively no posttreatment complications."
The dentist applies a layer of reflective powder on the prepared tooth. A picture of the tooth is then taken with a special digital camera. Three-dimensional (3-D) imaging is used to design the restoration. CAM technology is used to sculpt a precise restoration from a block of ceramic material. The restoration is metal-free and matches the natural color of other teeth. Finally, the dentist bonds the new restoration to the old tooth.