What is CEREC Dental Technology?

finished dental implant in the CEREC dental milling machine

You may have heard your dentist mention CEREC technology recently, but what does that mean? What is CEREC, and how will it impact your future dental appointments?

The word “CEREC” stands for Chairside Economical Restoration of Esthetic Ceramic. In simpler terms, it’s a dental system that uses computers to help design and create custom fillings, crowns, and veneers in a short period of time—usually in just a single visit. 

The team here at Muscaro & Martini Dentistry in South Tampa is proud to offer our patients CEREC dental restorations. To help you better understand this innovative technology, let’s discuss exactly what CEREC is and how it works.

What is CEREC Used For? 

CEREC technology can be used for a variety of dental restoration procedures. When teeth develop cavities, get chipped, or wear down, a dental filling, crown, or bridge can help protect the tooth from further damage. 

CEREC systems may be used to make the following dental restorations:

  • Fillings
  • Crowns
  • Bridges
  • Veneers
  • Inlays/onlays

Traditional restorative processes usually involve taking an impression of the damaged tooth or teeth and sending the impression to a specialized lab. The lab will then create a crown or bridge before sending it back to your dentist. This process may take multiple visits and involve temporary restorations to protect teeth in the interim. 

In contrast, CEREC systems can conveniently craft dental restorations in a dentist’s office right away. This can save patients time and avoids uncomfortable temporary restorations.

How CEREC Works

CEREC uses state-of-the-art computer-aided design (CAD) and computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) technology to craft fillings, crowns, veneers, and more. A CEREC system actually combines several different devices, including a 3D camera, digital imaging system, and ceramic mill.

The process for patients is simple. First, your dentist will use CEREC to photograph your mouth with a special camera instead of the traditional approach of taking impressions (which means no more uncomfortable, goo-filled impression trays). Your dentist will use CEREC to create a 3D model of your tooth from that photograph and design a dental restoration to fit. 

From there, the CEREC system will mill a block of ceramic to create your dental restoration right in the office. This milling process may take up to 30 minutes. Once the milling process is done, your dentist will fit your new filling or crown into your mouth right away. 

CEREC systems can customize the shape and color of your crown or veneer to ensure it fits comfortably and looks natural in your mouth. The entire process usually takes place during one visit. 

Benefits of CEREC

There are lots of benefits of CEREC technology for dental restorations, including the following:

  • No temporary restorations. Temporary crowns may be uncomfortable or expensive. With CEREC, we can create your crown right away and avoid the need for temporary fixes.
  • No additional cost. We don’t charge any more for a CEREC restoration than a traditional crown.
  • Quick and convenient. The entire dental restoration process can usually be done in a single visit to our office. On the other hand, it may take several weeks to craft a crown with traditional methods.
  • Comfortable and customized for you. Digital imaging and 3D models mean your dental restorations are perfectly suited to fit your mouth.
  • Looks natural. We can customize the appearance of your veneers and crowns to seamlessly blend into your natural smile.
  • Strong and durable restorations. Research shows that crowns made with CEREC are sturdier, stronger, and more long-lasting than traditional crowns.
  • Metal-free. CEREC dental restorations are milled from whole blocks of ceramic, meaning your filling or crown will be completely metal-free.

All in all, CEREC is a safe, effective, and quick way to create dental restorations. The team here at Muscaro & Martini is proud to treat patients with this new technology.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are there drawbacks, side effects, or risks?

CEREC is recognized as a safe and effective way of creating long-lasting and durable crowns and fillings. There are no side effects or risks associated with using CEREC systems.

Who can’t receive CEREC dental restorations?

CEREC dental restorations are safe, convenient, and effective for the majority of patients, including children.

However, some patients with dental fractures that extend beneath the gum line may be better treated with traditional crowns or with a root canal performed before placing a dental restoration. Furthermore, some patients in need of significant restoration to multiple teeth may not be able to receive same-day service.

Your dentist will discuss other options with you if you’re ineligible for CEREC restoration or if you need other procedures in combination.

What is CAD/CAM technology?

‘CAD’ stands for computer-aided design. ‘CAM’ stands for computer-aided manufacturing. CAD/CAM dentistry uses computer software to help design and create precisely-made dental restorations, including crowns, bridges, veneers, fillings, and more. CEREC is a type of CAD/CAM technology.

CAD/CAM dental and orthodontic tools have been around for many years and dentists around the world are beginning to adopt these innovative tools. At Muscaro & Martini, we always want our patients to have access to the best care, which is why we use this technology.

Does every dentist use CEREC?

Not every dentist offers CEREC technology for their patients. It takes specialized training to operate CAD/CAM tools and some dentists prefer traditional dental restoration methods.

However, if you receive a dental restoration created by a CEREC system, it’s safe to then see a dentist who isn’t trained in CEREC. Any board-certified and licensed dentist will be able to treat patients who have received CEREC restorations.

Interested? Schedule an appointment today

CEREC is an incredible piece of dental technology that we’re excited to use here at our Tampa office. If you’re tired of unnatural-looking dental restorations or multiple appointments, CEREC may be the solution for you.

If you want to get started, just schedule an appointment with us. We’re happy to offer this cutting-edge technology to all of our patients who want comfortable, great-looking results quickly.

Disclaimer: This article is not a substitute for medical advice from a licensed dental professional. 

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