Cerec is our 3D scanning system that lets us make porcelain crowns and inlays (fillings) all in one visit. For anyone techie, this is CAD-CAM dentistry at the cutting edge of technology. We have now been using Cerec for 4 years and love it more than ever. We are the only Practice in the South-East (Wexford, Waterford, Carlow, Kilkenny, Tipperary) to have access to this technology.
Cerec is great to use to replace old black amalgam fillings when one last bit of tooth has snapped off or in teeth with several cracked areas waiting to snap off. The porcelain restoration produced is bonded on to the tooth, it is strong and shiny and the closest material to original actual tooth material that there is. It sticks weak areas together and helps strengthen the tooth. It is easy to keep clean and looks good.
So what is the procedure? The tooth is numbed. To pick up the scan we have to spray the teeth with blue powder. We scan the opposite teeth and the way the teeth bite together first. We remove the old filling , any decay and any thin weak tooth material. Then we scan the prepared tooth.
After this we stop working in the mouth and start working on the computer. Everybody enjoys seeing the pictures of their teeth and the designing of their new tooth. We make a 3D design and this information is sent to the milling unit in the Practice (you can watch the milling process if you like).
Lots of patients ask if this is like 3D printing and yes it is a bit – but the tooth isn’t built up layer by layer, it is cut back or sculpted from a ceramic block in the milling machine which gives a much stronger finished product. With some kinds of porcelain we use, the new tooth is ready straight away, which is great. When we make Emax restorations, the strongest porcelain we have, the 3D restoration has to be crystallised and glazed in a furnace to make it even stronger. This takes about 30 minutes longer.
The porcelain is treated with a strong etch to make it ready to bond. The tooth surface is treated also so that everything sticks as well as possible. We always want to keep the area as dry as we can for excellent bonding strength. The cement we use isn’t really cement at all, it’s a resin, made by 3M (who make the glue that holds aeroplane wings on.)
In goes the 3D porcelain restoration and then we tidy up! We have to make sure that you can bite properly, that it’s smooth and that you can floss.
Then you can enjoy your new tooth, safe in the knowledge that the procedure has added years to its lifespan.