The CEREC Procedure
Let’s face it, very few of us have perfect teeth, free of decay and fillings. You can probably see a filling or two in your own mouth, which do just that — “fill” a cavity, or hole, in your tooth left from the excavation of decayed tooth structure. In many cases, those fillings are made of metal material and can go bad, weaken the tooth, or get additional decay under or around it. In fact, 1.2 billion of these metal fillings will need to be replaced in the next 10 years. CEREC is a method used by thousands of dentists worldwide since 1987 not only to replace these fillings, but also to restore any tooth that is decayed, weakened, broken, etc. to its natural strength and beauty. Better yet, it’s done with all-ceramic materials that are tooth-colored in a SINGLE appointment!
Exam and Preparation
First, Dr. Browning examines the tooth and determines the appropriate treatment. It could be a simple filling, or a full crown, depending on how much healthy tooth structure is remaining and the clinical judgment of Dr. Browning. Next,she administers an anesthetic and prepares your tooth for the restoration, removing decayed and weakened tooth tissue. This preparation is just like she would do for many other restorative techniques.
Then,Dr. Browning takes an Optical Impression of the prepared tooth. Instead of filling a tray with impression “goop” that you must bite into and hold in your mouth until it hardens, she then coats the tooth with a non-toxic, tasteless powder. A camera is then used to take a digital picture of your tooth. This whole Optical Impression process takes only a minute or two.
Next, the CEREC machine helps create the restoration for your tooth. The CEREC 3D software takes the digital picture and converts it into a 3-dimensional virtual model on the computer screen. Dr. Browning then uses her dental expertise to design the restoration using the CEREC 3D computer program. Within a few minutes,she clicks a button, and the restoration design data is sent to a separate milling machine in the office. A ceramic block that matches your tooth shade is placed in the milling machine. About 10 – 20 minutes later, your all-ceramic, tooth-colored restoration is finished and ready to bond in place. Finally,Dr. Browning tries the restoration in your mouth to ensure proper fit and bite. The restoration is then polished and bonded to the prepared tooth. Your tooth is restored with no “temporary” or return trip necessary. All of this is done in a single appointment! Ask us about CEREC today!
What is CEREC? CEREC is an acronym…
- Chairside: The technology is in the dental operatory and used while you are in the chair
- Economical: The procedure is economical for both dentist and patient
- Restorations: The procedure restores your tooth to its natural beauty, function, and strength
- Esthetic: The restorations are metal-free and tooth-colored
- Ceramic: High-strength ceramics are used that are close in composition to your natural tooth structure.
CEREC is an advanced dental restorative system that allows Dr. Browning to restore decayed teeth, place crowns, remove defective amalgam fillings, or place cosmetic veneers in just one appointment. This allows you to have the highest quality, most lifelike dental restorations in just one visit to the dentist…in, out, and on with your busy life.
CEREC Acquisition Unit
The CEREC Acquisition Unit is mobile and houses a medical grade computer and the CEREC camera.Dr. Browning uses the camera to take a digital picture of your prepared tooth. This picture is used instead of a traditional impression. This means no impression tray and material for you to gag on. The computer and CEREC 3D software converts the digital picture to a three-dimensional virtual model of your prepped tooth.She then designs your restoration right on screen using the software while you wait (and watch!). This software can assist us with designing any single tooth restoration: crowns, inlays (fillings), onlays (partial crowns), and veneers. OnceDr. Browning has designed your restoration (usually about 5 minutes), she clicks a button, and the design data is communicated via a wireless radio signal to the CEREC Milling Unit.
CEREC Milling Unit
We select a ceramic block that matches the shade of the tooth being repaired and then insert the block into the Milling Unit. The data from the Acquisition Unit is used to direct two diamond-coated burs to carve the block into the indicated shape of the restoration. This process usually takes 8 to 18 minutes depending on the size and type of restoration. After the milling is finished,the finished filling or crown is polished and bonded into place.
CEREC is a registered trademark of Sirona Dental Systems
Inlays & Onlays
When more than half of the tooth’s biting surface is damaged Dr. Browning will often recommend an inlay or onlay.
What are inlays and onlays?
Inlays and onlays can be made of porcelain, gold, or composite resin. These pieces are bonded to the damaged area of the tooth. An inlay, which is similar to a filling, is used inside the cusp tips of the tooth. An onlay is a more substantial reconstruction, similar to the inlay but extending out over one or more of the cusps of the tooth.
Traditionally, gold has been the material of choice for inlays and onlays. In recent years, however, porcelain has become increasingly popular due to its strength and color, which can potentially match the natural color of your teeth.
How are inlays and onlays applied?
Inlays and onlays require two appointments to complete the procedure. During the first visit, the filling being replaced or the damaged or decaying area of the tooth is removed, and the tooth is prepared for the inlay or onlay. To ensure proper fit and bite, an impression of the tooth is made by Dr. Browning, and sent to a lab for fabrication. She will then place a temporary restoration on the tooth and schedule the next appointment.
At the second appointment, the temporary is removed. Dr. Browning will then make sure that the inlay or onlay fits correctly. If the fit is satisfactory, the inlay or onlay will be bonded to the tooth with a strong resin and polished to a smooth finish.
Considerations for inlays and onlays
Traditional fillings can reduce the strength of a natural tooth by up to 50 percent. As an alternative, inlays and onlays, which are bonded directly onto the tooth using special high-strength resins, can actually increase the strength of a tooth by up to 75 percent. As a result, they can last for up to 10 – 20 years with the proper care. In some cases, where the damage to the tooth is not extensive enough to merit an entire crown, onlays can provide a very good conservative alternative.