With CEREC technology, a ceramic restoration can be made and installed in only one appointment. This state-of-the-art German technology, launched some 30 years ago, is used worldwide to quickly produce beautiful, durable and metal-free inlays and crowns.
Ceramic: The ideal material
Ceramic is the ideal material for dental restorations. It is perfectly biocompatible, durable and looks very much like natural teeth. Ceramic is nearly identical to enamel in its solidity, texture and reaction to temperature variations. It is also more durable than white composite used in fillings.
Ceramic restorations make chewing more comfortable and they wear out at the same rate as natural teeth. They ensure a softer contact between teeth to avoid premature wear of adjoining and opposite teeth.
When can this technology be used?
CEREC technology is ideal for designing and fabricating permanent restorations that can significantly reinforce teeth that have been damaged, cracked or weakened by previous amalgam or composite repairs. Crowns, inlays, permanent bridges and veneers can be designed and installed with great precision. Studies have shown that with this technology, up to 98% of a tooth’s original strength can be restored.
A crown is a hollow artificial tooth. Shaped like a little hat, it covers a damaged or weak tooth. This type of dental prosthesis is permanent and can completely restore the appearance of the tooth, making it stronger and more functional.
You may need a crown if:
- A major cavity has left a significant hole in your tooth, weakening it. The tooth cannot support an amalgam or composite restoration
- Your tooth is broken, cracked or worn out
- Your tooth has been devitalized following a root canal
- Your tooth is discoloured or misshapen
- A dental implant was installed and needs to be covered by an artificial tooth
- Two teeth are acting as pillars for a bridge and need to be covered with crowns
Advantages of ceramic crowns:
- Esthetics : Because it completely covers a tooth, a crown improves and embellishes your smile. Crowns are custom designed and manufactured, taking into account the colour and shape of adjacent teeth for a more natural look.
- Durability : With proper oral hygiene, being careful to avoid hard foods and changing bad habits like chewing on pencils, this type of prosthesis can last over 10 years.
- Strength : Once the crown is installed, the tooth is as solid and as strong as ever.
- Comfort : Because the crown is a permanent prosthesis supported either by the tooth’s natural root, a pivot installed after a root canal, or a dental implant, it feels just like a natural tooth. The crown is shaped and adjusted for comfortable, optimal occlusion.
- No extractions : If the root is still healthy, installing a crown is the best option. By avoiding having your tooth extracted, you’ll maintain your teeth’s natural balance.
- Quick : With CEREC technology, a crown can be made and installed in only one appointment.
An inlay is a major restoration of a molar or bicuspid. As an alternative to traditional amalgam or white composite resin fillings, an inlay is a good choice to fill deep cavities or replace a defective filling.
Inlays are made from a block of ceramic that is carved to size, then inserted into the tooth.
Inlays vs. fillings
Inlays are more durable than traditional restorations. The seal with the tooth is better, so that cavities are less likely to recur.
An inlay can be used on a deep cavity or badly damaged tooth, avoiding the need for a crown. Crowns require removing a layer of enamel, so when possible opt for an inlay instead. It can reinforce the tooth while maintaining its natural integrity.
Depending on the affected area and the severity of the cavity.
Inlays : Placed inside a tooth, in the grooves of its chewing surface.
Onlays : Placed around the outside of a tooth. It covers one or several cuspids.
Advantages of ceramic inlays:
- Esthetics : Ceramic perfectly matches the natural colour of enamel; it’s unnoticeable in the mouth
- Durability : With proper oral hygiene, an inlay can last a very long time
- Resistance : Ceramic offers better resistance than composite
- Strength : The tooth is reinforced by the inlay
- Comfort : The tooth is no longer sensitive to heat and occlusion is adjusted
- Efficiency : Tight seal with the tooth, preventing bacteria infiltration
- Quick: With CEREC technology, an inlay can be made and installed in only one appointment.
There are many advantages to performing a restoration in only one appointment. Thanks to CEREC technology, you’ll only need anaesthesia once. And, because the restoration is made right in the clinic, there’s no need for a temporary repair while you wait for the permanent restoration to be ready.
Taking digital impressions
After cleaning the tooth and removing any cavities or previous restorations, the dentist makes an impression of the area to be restored. The 3D digital impression is made with CEREC 3D, a small intraoral camera. Simple and quick to use, the dentist only needs to pass the camera over the tooth. A precise 3D image is instantaneously created in the computer—no need for traditional moulds to make a dental impression.
Designing the restoration
Based on the 3D model, the dentist uses the CEREC software to design a functional restoration that will be perfectly adjusted to your mouth. The shape and colour of the restoration are carefully selected for an optimal, beautiful-looking result.
Producing the ceramic restoration
Once the restoration has been designed, the information is sent to the production chamber, where the ceramic block is immediately and precisely sculpted. The production time varies depending on the type of ceramic used, and the quality of the ceramic determines its durability.
Before getting installed, the restoration is polished and adjusted so that it matches adjoining teeth.
Installing the restoration
To complete the procedure, the restoration is installed and secured to the tooth using dental cement. In only a few hours, CEREC technology can provide you with optimal, biocompatible, reliable, precise and beautiful-looking results.
Good to know
- Each person’s situation is unique and must be individually assessed. This type of technology cannot be used for very minor restorations; in these cases, the dentist will opt for amalgam or composite materials
- The cost varies depending on the quality of the ceramic used and the scope of the restoration. CEREC technology usually costs about the same as traditional restorations. And, CEREC restorations look great, are durable and are of high quality
- When several restorations are done simultaneously, a second appointment may be needed for their installation. If this is the case, a temporary restoration is installed in the meantime
CEREC technology has revolutionized the production and installation of dental restorations. To find out more, talk with your dentist.