||This article may contain original research. (February 2011)|
CEREC (Chairside Economical Restoration of Esthetic Ceramics, or CEramic REConstruction) is a dental restoration product that allows a dental practitioner to produce an indirect ceramic dental restoration using a variety of computer assisted technologies, including 3D photography and CAD/CAM. With CEREC, teeth can be restored in a single sitting with the patient, rather than the multiple sittings required with earlier techniques. Additionally, with the latest software and hardware updates, crowns, veneers, onlays and inlays can be prepared, using different types of ceramic material.
The cavity preparation is first photographed and stored as a three dimensional digital model and proprietary software is then used to approximate the restoration shape using biogeneric comparisons to surrounding teeth. The practitioner then refines that model using 3D CAD software. When the design phase is complete, the information is sent wirelessly to the milling unit which mills the actual restoration from a solid block of material using diamond burs. The restoration is bonded to the tooth using a resin cement which bonds to both the restoration as well as the tooth itself.
The treating dentist prepares the tooth being restored either as a crown, inlay, onlay or veneer. The tooth is then powder sprayed with a thin layer of blue anti-reflective contrast medium, imaged by a 3D imaging camera and uploaded to the CEREC computer. Using the proprietary CEREC software in various modes, a restoration can be designed to restore the tooth to its appropriate form and function. This data on this restoration is stored in a file and is sent via wireless serial transmission or direct wiring to a milling machine. The restoration can then be milled out of a solid ceramic or composite block. Milling time varies from as little as four minutes to as long as twenty depending on the complexity of the restoration and the version of the milling unit.