02/06/2010  |  
Posted in Dental Technology
Space Age Dentistry NOW!

Star Trek dentistry is here. Imagine going into a dental office because you've lost an old crown. Your dentist cleans the tooth up, freshens the edges, takes a wand, scans the tooth, it's image appears on a monitor. As he scans the tooth the information is simultaneously beamed to a machine which shapes, grinds and fashions a perfectly shaped and contoured “restoration” of the lost tooth structure from a block of exactly matched tooth colored material. The tooth is then permanently and invisibly bonded imperceptibly into place, all in the same visit.

Enter CAD (Computer Aided Design) and CAM (Computer Aided Manufacturing) and it can be done. These techniques were developed from manufacturing processes which had their infancy in industry in the 1950’s and 60s, and have been painstakingly applied to dentistry over the last twenty years. This technology has come about due to the ingenuity and persistence of Drs. Mormann, Duret, Rekow, Brandestini, Giordano and others who pioneered the techniques which, together with improvements in the science of dental materials, have made this dream a reality for them and the many patients who are now its fortunate recipients. Over the last twenty years three basic parts have come together; computing power has increased exponentially; huge industrial sized milling machines have been reduced to desk top size and ceramic materials are much more abrasion resistant particularly when based with metallic substances like alumina and zirconia. In addition the restorations are of such precision that they can be directly bonded to the remaining tooth and essentially become part of it. CEREC, (for Star Trek lovers, not Spock's father but close), is one of the systems now in its third generation, which is becoming more and more widely used in dental practice. “Beam me up Scotty”.

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