CEREC is the shortened version of “Chairside Economical Restorations of Esthetic Ceramic” and it is one of the biggest revolutions in dental procedures to date. Traditionally, the need for restorative dental work involving inlays, onlays, veneers or crowns involved impressions to be made of the teeth on the first visit, then the application of the manufactured prosthetic in a second visit after they were created in a dental lab. CEREC allows for the procedures to be completed in a single visit through the use of several CAD “computer assisted design” tools, where the necessary prosthetic is literally manufactured in minutes in the dentist’s office. The ability of CEREC to create nearly any ceramic restoration not only reduces time and anxiety about a procedure, it also can reduce costs.

What are the benefits of CEREC?

CEREC may not be appropriate for you if you have a deep bite or a history of breaking ceramic restorations. Most CEREC devices can last 5 to 10 years without being replaced.

CEREC advantages:

  • No need for temporary placements.
  • Ceramic products are high quality.
  • Minimally invasive.
  • Fewer uncomfortable periods.
  • Fewer visits to the dentist.
  • Cost effective.
  • More natural tooth material is salvaged.
  • Long lasting.
  • Bio compatible.

What makes up the CEREC system?

CEREC is also known as a CAD-CAM system. CAD-CAM means Computer Assisted Design and Computer Assisted Milling. CEREC consists of three components:

Acquisition device: A high quality camera and medical grade computer system that photographs the tooth or teeth and renders three dimensional pictures.

Three-dimensional CAD software: Software which allows for analysis of the tooth in a three dimensional setting, including rotation.

Milling device: The device produces the actual prosthetic from a ceramic block that is colored to match teeth perfectly.

What is involved in CEREC?

Preparation of the tooth includes removal of all damage and decay and creating what is called a divergent occlusal axial wall, which makes the opening of the tooth wider than the base. Next, an impression is made using a thin film of titanium dust. This dust allows the camera to take a highly detailed picture of the tooth. Images are created with the CEREC camera utilizing an infrared wavelength.

Images are transferred to a computer where the tooth can be examined, then the data is transferred to a milling station where a block of ceramic material colored to match the surrounding teeth is transferred into the exact size and shape necessary. The milling process generally takes about 15 minutes, and the restoration is made of compressed, rather than laboratory-layered porcelain which improves strength and durability.

The prosthetic is then checked for fit and cemented into place by the dentist. No second visit is necessary.
CEREC devices can last many years with proper care and maintenance.