CAD-CAM stands for computer-aided design and computer-aided manufacturing. It was developed at University of Zurich in 1980 and enables dentists to complete one or multiple ceramic restorations with the aid of computer technology.
At the time of impression taking, the dentist will take digital or traditional impressions. Based on the images, a virtual model of the patient’s tooth is created. During chair-side treatment, the dentist removes the decay or fi les the tooth down as usual. The digital model is then used to design the tooth restoration on screen and it is transferred to a milling machine. The restoration is then milled out of a ceramic block of the matching color using diamond-coated milling units. The fi nishing touches to the restoration can be added by painting, polishing, and glazing before inserting it on the tooth. CAD-CAM restorations can be used to make crowns, partial crowns, onlays, and bridges. Recently, implant crowns were added to its list of applications.
What are the benefi ts of CAD-CAM dentistry?
CAD-CAM enables the dentist to capture and shape the tooth accurately and to create and seat a ceramic restoration with a superior fi t and tight adhesive seal.
Ceramic restorations made by CAD-CAM are highly esthetic and mimic the natural appearance of teeth much better than traditional materials. The blocks that are used with CAD-CAM dentistry for single crowns and small bridges are mostly tooth-colored material.
CAD-CAM technology has a proven long-term duration rate of 95 percent for its single restorations. The application of CAD/CAM technology has increased in dentistry in the recent years. Researchers are constantly looking into other potential uses for it and continuing to record clinical success rates for its emerging new applications.