What is CEREC Cad Cam and How Does It Work

CEREC crowns/veneers

The term CAD/CAM in dentistry refers to the digital way/workflow a restorative procedure is conducted. CEREC stands for (Chairside Economical Restoration of Esthetic Ceramics, or CEramic REConstruction). It is a unique and revolutionary system which allows a dentist to do all-ceramic restorations in one single appointment.

How does CEREC work?

The procedure is prepared the same way a traditional crown or veneer procedure is done. Once the preparation is completed, instead of using “dental putty” to take an impression of your tooth to send to the lab to fabricate the crown or veneer, your dentist will take a digital image of your tooth using a special intraoral camera. This image is saved on the CEREC computer and the software then converts it into a 3D model of your tooth which is used as a guide to design your cerec crown or veneer restoration. Once your dentist is happy with the newly designed tooth, the data is digitally sent to an onsite milling machine, which then fabricates your new tooth from a high-quality ceramic block. The time it takes to mill can vary between as little as 6 minutes to 30 minutes, depending on the exact technology and complexity of the tooth design. The latest milling unit called CEREC MCXL can mill a crown in less than 10 minutes. The ceramic blocks your dentist uses come in a wide variety of shades and colours so as to match the surrounding teeth as closely as possible. Once milling is completed, the dentist will then test the fit, and he/she may then characterise it further to match surrounding teeth, then polish or glaze it in a furnace to complete it. Your new restoration will then be cemented into place onto your prepared tooth.

Advantages of CEREC Crowns and Veneers

  • One visit / one day crowns.
  • Since everything is done in one visit, you only need to be numbed once.
  • No temporary crowns or veneers are needed.
  • Dentist has complete control of how it’s made and looks, instead of having a technician at the lab that has never seen the patient make the crown/veneer.

How much does CEREC cost?

You would probably think that the cost of CEREC crowns is more than traditional crowns with this state-of-the-art technology. However there is often very little, if any, difference in the cost of these crowns.