Thursday, June 26, 2008

CEREC - Computer Designed Dentistry

Last week we got a new addition to our office and I am so excited about it! It is the CEREC 3D CAD/CAM machine.

This machine is amazing! It allows us to design a crown, inlay or onlay with a computer and then a machine in the office takes the design and cuts the crown out of a solid block of porcelain!

So we don't have to take an impression with all of that goopy stuff and then put in a temporary crown and then make the patient come back two weeks later to get their crown. It all happens in one visit of about an hour.

And these crowns are all-porcelain which is superior to most other types of crowns commonly fabricated in a dental lab. They look so much more natural than crowns with a metal substructure.

So here are some pictures of the process:
The first one is a "Before" picture of a couple teeth with old broken-down silver fillings.

Once we've removed the fillings and prepared the teeth for the crown, we take a picture with our special scanning camera and it turns the picture into a 3D model on the screen.

From the 3D model we can design a crown that will fit the tooth. The computer software actually goes through thousands of calculations to produce a crown that not only fits, but mimics the natural shapes and contours of the other teeth in the mouth. From there I can change the shape, size, or even carve my initials into it.

Once we have a design we like, we click a button and place a porcelain block in the milling machine. The machine has two rotating diamond burs that cut our crown out of the solid porcelain. It takes about 10 minutes to cut it and then we are ready to bond it to the tooth in the mouth.

As long as the crown has been designed right, it fits perfectly onto the tooth and, as you can see, looks incredibly natural. It is hard to even tell where the tooth and porcelain meet.

The CEREC technology has been an incredible advance in the way we practice dentistry in our office. We can now provide the highest quality dentistry available in a way that is convenient to our patients.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

What Happens If You Miss Your Cleaning?

I am often asked, "What would happen if I missed my 6 month cleanings?" I could give a generic answer but I thought it would be better just to show it with pictures. This is a patient who missed his regular cleaning appointment and came in 2 weeks late. He probably regrets it...

Actually this is a picture my dad just sent me from his mission in Africa. I'm not sure what the underlying cause is here, infection or tumor but it just goes to show what a need there is for medical care in those countries. He's probably had to live like that for a while.
We can all be happy we live in a country with such great access to health care!