Sometimes patients are already receiving dentures that have been designed with the computer. It should be done quickly and with high precision. Read everything you need to know about CAD/CAM dentures here.
What is the CAD/CAM process?
The name CAD/CAM comes from the English (Computer-Aided Design / Computer-Aided Manufacturing) and translates as computer-controlled design and computer-controlled manufacturing. This method was originally used in space travel.
With this system, your dentures are individually designed and planned on the computer with the help of special CAD software. A milling machine is then programmed with the data created. This mills the workpiece fully automatically from a block (CAM). There are already 3D printers for plastic temporaries. The pressure currently only works optimally with plastics.
CAD/CAM dentures – how is the process?
Instead of using the usual impression material, the dentist digitally creates a model of your teeth. A special small camera is used to scan your jaw, your teeth, and, above all, the affected teeth and create a three-dimensional image on the PC.
Computer-aided design (CAD) of your dentures
The required crown or bridge is then designed, processed, and precisely adapted to the environment in your mouth using special software. With the help of the software, both function and aesthetics are important.
Milling your dentures
Once the design is complete, they send the CAD data to a milling machine that will eventually manufacture your dentures. This process is Computer-Aided Manufacturing (CAM) and is very quick: it usually takes less than an hour to produce your dentures.
The chairside procedure, lab side procedure, or milling center?
We can set the milling machine up in different places. If your dentist can do all the steps himself because he has the milling machine in his dental practice, you will receive your dentures very quickly. They make it for you directly on the dentist’s chair, and you can use it immediately. You do not have to wait several days or weeks.
For some teeth, for example, incisors, this production is not suitable, however, since the color of the ceramic must be reworked in the laboratory (“lab-side”).
If your dentist does not have his milling machine, he can also send the data for your crown to a milling center. There the crown will be made for you and sent to your dentist. Then it can be glued to your tooth.
Which materials are used in the CAD/CAM process?
In the CAD/CAM technique, crowns and bridges are mainly made from ceramic, more precisely from zirconium oxide. This tooth-colored and very well tolerated material is becoming more and more valuable. It is also becoming increasingly popular because it manufactures dental crowns without metal. But it can also use metallic materials such as gold or titanium.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of the process?
Advantages of milled crowns and dental bridges
- No unpleasant impression material by scanning
- cost-effective because of automatic production
- fast production: shorter waiting times for you, no second appointment necessary
- Chair-side fabrication: no more temporary arrangements required
- metal-free dentures
- possible for crowns on dental implants and on your teeth
- white inlays, crowns, and bridges, as they are usually milled from zircon
The most important advantage for you as a patient is the quick production at a comparatively low price. If your dentist has his milling machine, they can carry the entire treatment out in one session. With this method, you do not have to accept long annoying waiting times and uncomfortable temporary arrangements.
Disadvantages of the CAD/CAM technology
- partly aesthetically worse results than handmade
- Precision could be improved
- not suitable for every tooth: some shapes cannot be milled
- Zircon has a chief strength, not recommended for grinders
That CAD/CAM crowns do not always deliver the desired aesthetic results since they are milled from one piece. Therefore, especially in ceramics, they are often a little thicker than handmade ones. This is an advantage in the posterior region, as greater forces apply here. However, if you need a small anterior denture, this system may not be ideal for you.
Our conclusion on milled dentures
Above all, CAD/ CAM dentures offer patients the advantage that we can manufacture them in a noticeably short time. If your dentist has his milling machine in his practice, you can have the entire treatment for a dental bridge, for example, carried out in one day. The digital scanning eliminates unpleasant impressions for you. Also, the cost is not that high because the amount of work is less.