Alexandria Dental Health & Smile Studio offers CEREC (Chairside Economical Restoration of Esthetic Ceramics) technology at our practice, which consists of a 3D printer that generates high-quality dental restorations in just minutes. Dr. Mazhari talks more about the benefits of our CEREC technology and how treatment time is shortened without sacrificing quality.
When tooth structure is undermined or damaged, whether through decay, poor quality and old fillings or fracture, we can take intraoral 3D images of that tooth and run them through a digital scanner with CEREC technology, which allows us to accurately replicate and design the missing part of a tooth in just 15-25 minutes in our office. Partial restorations such as partial crowns, onlays and inlays are carved out of preordered high quality Emax restorations and simply and beautifully replace missing parts of the tooth. Full coverage restorations such as crowns should be avoided if at all possible to preserve the healthy remaining structure. The remaining healthy walls can increase the surface area for bonding. The bonding process creates linkages between the tooth structure, bonding material and inner walls of the restoration and creates a hybrid layer.
The beauty of CEREC is in its bonding technology—the bond created between the tooth and the ceramic restoration is so intricate that there are no gaps. Patients can actually have a restoration that enhances the tooth rather than weaken it.
When patients have a wide and deep area of damage in their tooth structure particularly molars and premolars, plastic or amalgam silver fillings, should not be considered to restore or fill these already weakened areas. The tooth is going to get weaker through what’s known as a wedging effect: every time the patient bites into the tooth, the spaces between the filling material and the tooth wedge farther apart and cause micro cracks in the underlying tooth structure. Eventually, a piece of the tooth will fall out. Many of our emergency patients over the past two decades have come to our office to restore fractured teeth and old fillings. The functioning parts of the teeth that are designed to withstand chewing, and biting forces throughout our lifetime are compromised if not replaced with comparable material in cases of damage to these cusps.
However, with ceramic restorations and technology—whether its in-office 3D printed technology such as what we offer with CEREC or a lab-fabricated ceramic restoration—the remaining healthy tooth structure is intact all the while the damaged part is restored seamlessly, esthetically, and functionally . This ceramic is compatible with the tooth structure, and it withstands up to 400 megapascals (MPa) of pressure, which is equivalent to 58, 015.08 PSI. This translates to daily repeated forces that the restoration can withstand, and that’s ideally what we want, especially for patients who grind their teeth.
Another benefit of CEREC technology is that we don’t have to put a temporary filling in, which would require the patient to make multiple appointments to complete their restoration. With CEREC technology, restorations only take approximately 20 minutes to make and 10 minutes to prep before they can be bonded permanently.
CEREC technology uses both a mechanical bond—the way the piece is shaped and fits into the tooth structure—and a chemical bond—between the restoration and the tooth structure—to create a seamless restoration with no gaps between restoration and tooth structure . This way, patients have a secure, durable restoration with no tooth sensitivity or possibility of plaque accumulation over time. Many of our patients have enjoyed the long lasting benefits of their Cerec in office restorations for 10 years at least. I have had cases that were completed more than 10 years ago and they are still in excellent shape. Of course the daily habits, sugar intake, dietary habits, acidity and grinding will play a major role in this longevity. These cause damage to the tooth not the cerec restoration. If patients manage plaque levels using electric tooth brushes , watepik ultra, and flossing daily, coupled with dietary habits that don’t expose enamel to sugar and acidity the restoration will remain intact as the tooth housing is healthy .
In-office 3D printing technology with CEREC allows us at Alexandria Dental Health & Smile Studio to provide patients with same-day dental restorations that hold up much better than traditional filling options over the years. Get in touch with us today to learn more about this technology, or to schedule a consultation with our team at (703) 212-9622!