What is CAD-CAM Dentistry?

Gone are the days of waiting two weeks to have your crown fitted with the latest in dentistry technology available to you right here in Tzaneen. Introducing the CAD-CAM system.

CAD-CAM is an acronym for Computer-Assisted Design – Computer-Assisted Manufacture of Dental Crowns, Inlays, Bridges etc. There are several systems on the market but in our practice, we make use of Sirona’s Cerec Omnicam system.

CAD-CAM is one of the fastest developing fields in Dentistry and allows us to manufacture Dental Crowns and Inlays in a single visit to the practice. The crowns are more accurate and efficient than traditional Laboratory manufactured crowns and reduces time spent in the dental chair.

Traditionally the steps involved in preparation and manufacture of a Laboratory crown would consist of two appointments, 7 to 14 days apart depending on the turnover of the Laboratory. The first appointment is usually a 60-minute appointment, during which the tooth would be prepared to receive the crown. Once the preparation is done, the Dentist will take an impression of the prepared tooth as well as the opposing dental arch. The next step would be to manufacture a temporary crown that will protect the prepared tooth. The second appointment is a 30-minute appointment during which the dentist will remove the temporary crown, fit the crown and if all is well cement the crown permanently.

With the Cerec Omnicam the whole process can be completed in a single 90-minute visit. The process starts by preparing the tooth to receive the crown. Next the preparation is scanned using the Cerec Omnicam Acquisition unit. No impressions are necessary. The Dentist can now design the new crown on the Acquistion unit’s software program. Once the design is complete, the Acquisition unit communicates with the milling unit where the crown is cut from a porcelain block. The crown can now be polished and fitted in the patient’s mouth and cemented in position.

What are the benefits of a Cerec CAD-CAM crown?
Allows for same-day restorations.
Crowns are very aesthetic, long lasting and free of metal.
No need for temporary crowns and uncomfortable impressions.
The colour of the crown can be matched to the adjacent teeth.
3D images from the acquisition unit are more accurate than impressions, leading to a better fitting crown that will maintain a better seal along the cement margin, increasing the longevity of the crown.

When am I a good candidate for a Cerec CAD-CAM crown?
You have fractured a tooth with severe loss of tooth structure.
You need a new crown or onlay.
You want to replace old metal restorations with more aesthetic porcelain restorations.
You have a tooth that requires a large restoration
You want to improve your appearance with a Smile Design or complete dental makeover

Dr Ruan Rademeyer

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