We all know how getting a crown goes: A mold is taken of the patient's tooth. The mold is then sent to a dental laboratory and used to make a permanent crown. In the meantime, you (the dentist) places a temporary. A week or so later, when the permanent crown is complete, the patient returns and the crown is placed.
Not so much. At least according to roughly 10 percent of dentists who have now implemented CAD/CAM technology in their practices for the purpose of producing same-day crowns.
You’ve likely heard of - and may even use computer-aided design and computer-aided manufacturing (CAD/CAM) technologies for creating crowns, bridges and more. As of 2013, just one in ten dental practices used these technologies, although the numbers are growing.
To construct a crown using CAD/CAM equipment, a digital scan of the patient’s mouth is taken resulting in a three-dimensional image. A dentist typically sends the virtual restoration to a "milling" machine which uses the scanned data to create a customized and highly-precise crown carved from a ceramic block. When complete, the restoration is bonded to the patient’s tooth.
The final result? A crown that eliminates the need for a temporary or a return appointment.
However, there are some limitations with CAD/CAM technology. The scanner cannot gather a complete image if the tooth is broken off below the gumline. The restorations are also carved from a ceramic block, which means they may not have the nuance and realistic feel of restorations created in a lab. This can be particularly problematic if the tooth needing replacement is visible when the patient smiles.
Still, for simple restorations CAD/CAM technology is gaining momentum. A single-appointment crown may certainly give potential patients more incentive to book an appointment– but the question is, how many? Are the traditional and arguably more realistic methods of constructing crowns and bridges here to stay?
What methods does your practice use for manufacturing crowns? And why?
Weigh in below.
The information contained in this, or any case study post in Incisor should never be considered a proper replacement for necessary training and/or education regarding adult oral conscious sedation. Regulations regarding sedation vary by state. This is an educational and informational piece. DOCS Education accepts no liability whatsoever for any damages resulting from any direct or indirect recipient's use of or failure to use any of the information contained herein. DOCS Education would be happy to answer any questions or concerns mailed to us at 106 Lenora Street, Seattle, WA 98121. Please print a copy of this posting and include it with your question or request.