What is CEREC?
CEREC is a computer-aided design/ computer-aided manufacturing tool for porcelain fillings and restorations. Unlike the earlier mercury based silver coloured dental fillings (amalgams), CEREC fillings or restorations are made of tooth-coloured ceramic (porcelain) so they look natural. It is not uncommon these days for patients to request a change from the dark metal look of amalgams to this natural tooth appearance.
When can CEREC be used?
CEREC is used to restore teeth that have cracks to protect them before they split or shatter, which put patients at risk of unnecessarily losing their teeth. It is very common to have cracks on teeth that have large and old metal fillings. It is also used to restore teeth that have lost half or even three-quarter of the crown (chewing surface) and to restore a tooth which has had root canal treatment.
A CEREC procedure preserves the remaining tooth structure, thus requiring less time, less drilling and fewer injections than other treatments. Therefore, CEREC restorations take only one appointment and patients leave with porcelain restorations cemented at the same appointment.
What is the process of getting a CEREC?
- Examination and Preparation – The dentist will examine your teeth for cracks and decay, decide on the best preparation method and start preparing any tooth that requires restoration, for example, removing of old fillings, cracks and decay.
- Hi Tech Tooth Design – An intraoral camera is used to take photos/ images of the tooth .The dentist will then use the CEREC software program to design the new teeth. In a specialised machine, the 3D design is crafted using a diamond-tipped drill. Depending on the design, the milling process will take approximately 10-20 minutes. During this time, you can relax in our reception area.
- Cementing a restoration – When the new tooth has been milled, it is then bonded with permanent cement to the existing tooth, thus completing the CEREC procedure.
These are all done in one appointment. Any external dental laboratory or follow-up appointments are not required.