What is CAD/CAM Dentistry?
Computer-aided design (CAD) and computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) are digital technologies used to design, plan and ultimately create dental prosthodontics with 3D printing technology. With CAD/CAM, Dental Technician can efficiently create dental crowns, teeth bridges, veneers, onlays, inlays, dentures, and dental implant-supported prostheses.
The CAD/CAM process for making dental restorations is much more efficient and can be completed in as a little as 45 minutes, and at most a couple of hours. If your dentist is going to create your dental prostheses with CAD-CAM technology, here's what you can expect:
During your appointment, your dentist will need to remove any decay and make sure your teeth are clean and ready to receive restorations.
Your dentist will use an intraoral scanner to create 3D images of your mouth and teeth.
Dentists or Dental Technician will use these 3D images along with CAD software to digitally plan, draw and design the restoration. This can take anywhere from a few minutes to an hour, depending on the experience of your Dental Technician, Dentist and the complexity of the restoration.
Also called a digitalization tool, the scanner scans and transforms the images of your teeth into the computer to be processed.
This is used to process the images of your teeth and plan your custom dental prostheses. This software can also show you your predicted treatment results.
This machine transforms your dental scans into the actual restoration via 3D printing or high end cnc milling machine
This is where the digital smile design becomes reality. The bridge, denture, inlay, onlay, crown, implant, or veneer is milled from a block of ceramic material in a special milling chamber.
Your new tooth is tailored to match the rest of your teeth, with customized stains and glazes or micro layering for a natural look.
Just like with pottery, your ceramic tooth will be fired in an oven (Ceramic furnace).
After the firing, your dentist will check the restoration to perfection and then it's time for placement.
How is CAD/CAM different than traditional dental restoration?
There are some crucial differences between CAD/CAM dentistry and conventional restoration,
including time and effort required from the clinician and the patient.
We mentioned the process for CAD/CAM above—now let's have a quick look at traditional restorative dentistry:
Your dentist will take your dental impression.
This impression gets sent to a lab.
The lab technician mounts the impression and makes a dental cast.
Using the cast, the Dental Technician makes a crown, veneer, etc.
While the restoration is being made, the patient will have a temporary restoration until the final tooth is finished.
It can take two to three appointments at least to complete the above steps.
With CAD/CAM dentistry, there is no need for manual dental impressions ot be taken, or for tedious lab work and multiple appointments.
What's more, the results with CAD/CAM are more precise and aesthetically pleasing
Dental CAD/CAM also makes orthodontic treatment easier,
because using this technology, dentists can take digital scans of a patient's teeth, which are faster and more accurate than making molds.
These scans can be used with software,
making the planning and delivery of treatment easier and faster, especially when it comes to invisible braces.
While there are many advantages to CAD/CAM dentistry,
there are some drawbacks as well.
Let's have a quick look at a summary of the below.