CEREC (Chairside Economical Restoration of Esthetic Ceramics) or also known as CEramic REconstruction is a popular advanced method of producing dental restorations. It is a computer-aided device that is very commonly used today. It represents top-notch technology which is a part of many different dental fields. This is actually a CAD/CAM method, that helps dentists get high-quality restorations including crowns, bridges, veneers, inlays, onlays, frameworks and much more. It’s all about the supreme esthetics.
CEREC has been a part of the dental practice since 1987. The first successful dental case treated with a CEREC restoration was back in 1985. It was created by Marco Brandestini and Werner H. Mörmann. Until 2003, the CEREC unit only provided 2D technology. During that year, Sirona introduced the first 3D software that allows the unit to recreate real-life versions of the models and restorations. Patients hear the word CEREC very often, and they are not quite sure what it means. That’s why we’re here to get more into detail and explain how to get the best possible dental treatment with the latest technology.
The process is very simple and easy. The first thing is that the patient will avoid any unpleasant impression trays and materials. Instead, the CAD/CAM technology uses a special intraoral camera. The dentist uses that camera to completely scan and take photos from the oral cavity. Those pictures are sent to the special software on the computer. CEREC is connected to a milling unit, that actually shapes the dental material into a restoration. After the designing process is done, the milling unit starts to create the final restoration according to the 3D image. The process takes around 15 minutes. Once it is done, dental technicians can add special features by hand.
The first chairside restoration made with the CEREC system was successfully made in 1985. It all happened in the Dental School in Zurich while using the CEREC 1 technology. And the first-ever material used was the Vita Mark I feldspathic ceramic. This was one of the most memorable revolutionary moves in the world of dentistry. At that time dentists used only a two-dimensional program and it stayed like that until 2001. Throughout the years, this system has gone through a number of changes both in the design and in the software. With each upgrade, it becomes easier to use it and more beneficial to the doctor and patient.
In 1986 Siemens got the license to start producing the chairside CEREC method for dental offices all over the world. The company introduced CEREC 1 the following year. Since then it has become the world’s first and leading CAD/CAM system. The initial indications weren’t as broad as today. Dentists mostly used it to create inlays, onlays, and veneers. The concept was fairly new and the technology wasn’t as advanced as today.
Seven years later, the company presented the upgraded CEREC 2 edition. The new, advanced version allowed dentists to create full crowns. This edition still relied on a two-dimensional image and design. But this time, it included a special cylinder diamond, that provided the ability to produce full crowns. This meant another huge step for the company and for dental offices. The range of restorations became more diverse including inlays, onlays, veneers, partial and full crowns, copings.
In 1997, Siemens sold the rights and license to a company called Sirona. In 2000 they launched the first version of CEREC 3, that worked with a Windows operating system. The first three editions of CEREC 3 used the two-dimensional design. In 2003, Sirona introduced the 3D software that makes things so much easier. It provides a three-dimensional image from the models. This is also when the production of restorations becomes more diverse, and dentists are able to provide crowns, inlays, onlays, veneers and three and four-unit bride frames.
In 2007, Sirona released the new MC XL grinding unit. It meant a great advancement in terms of speed and precision. Today MC XL is a very fast milling and grinding machine that provides restorations with high-quality. The precision is immaculate and it allows the use of a number of materials. Later in 2009, the company introduced the CEREC Bluecam, another revolutionary move. The Bluecam is still used in dentistry and provides very precise 3D images from the scanned surfaces.
The latest addition to the CEREC method is the Omnicam. We’re talking about a powder-free scanning intraoral camera that provides ideal images. There is no need to use any material or powder before scanning. This makes the experience much easier and more pleasant for the patient. All the dentist has to do is place the camera in the proper area. Plus, the process is now faster and time-saving. Once the scanning is done, the doctor gets a 3D model used for further diagnosis and creation of the restorations. The Omnicam also provides scans in natural colors, looking exactly the same as the real-life version.
Considering the fact that technology has advanced so much, all of those advancements were transferred to the CEREC method. So with each new software update, CEREC becomes better and easier to use.
Milling is the process of getting precise restorations by using the CEREC method. These days, dentists use the latest MC XL milling and grinding units. The process is amazingly precise and after the milling, the patient gets the ideal restoration. The milling follows the created 3D image of how the crown, bridge, veneers should look like. It all starts once a certain material is chosen, usually a ceramic block. From that block, the milling machine forms the final products. It is all aided by a computer, and the restoration is done in 15 minutes. The milling process is enabled by three, four and five-axis devices. It is carried in several different steps. Most of the machines allow both dry and wet processing. Dry processing is recommended for restorations made of zirconium oxide and. It is actually much faster compared to the wet one. The final product is completely dry at the end, so the dentist saves time on that. The wet milling, on the other hand, uses liquid through a spray during the process. It is necessary for all metal and glass ceramic fabrications. It is more time-consuming than the one before, but the quality of the product is completely the same.
One of the greatest things about the CEREC technology is the wide range of indications. As mentioned before, this method uses high-quality ceramic materials. These days there is a huge variety of ceramics to choose from, so they could match the patient’s needs. When it comes to indications, crowns, bridges, veneers, inlays, and onlays are the most common restorations done with CEREC. Among other uses, you’ll find bridge frameworks, telescopes, bars, implants, surgical guides, attachments, orthodontic appliances and more. As you can see this advanced method is a real revolution in dentistry. That’s exactly why it’s used in so many dental practices.
We are talking about immense precision when creating restorations, and a shortened time span of the treatment. The CEREC system provides a number of advantages. The first one is definitely a high quality of restorations, thanks to the very precise way of creation. Every step of the process is aided by computers and a special software, which means there is no room for mistakes. And it’s not only about the work of computers. The dentist and patients have a great part in deciding the final look of a restoration. There is a number of options to experiment to get that ideal-looking crown or veneer.
The second great thing about CEREC is that is a very time-efficient method. This works wonders for both the patient and dentist. The number of visits is reduced to one. No messy impressions. So, there is no need of going through that exhausting and unpleasant process of going multiple times to the dental office. There is no wait, instead, you have a great a highly-aesthetic restoration in only hours. In the meantime, you won’t need temporary crowns, bridges or veneers.
Yes, the CEREC device produces the most aesthetically pleasing restorations. Not a single person in the world will recognize that you’ve actually had work done. Thanks to the advanced technology, dentists can really adjust the new restorations to the remaining teeth in the oral cavity. They can also imitate any signature marks that your natural teeth had.
According to studies, the restorations made with the CAD/CAM method are more durable compared to all other types. Actually, research already proved that the 10-year survival rate of these restorations is much higher than the restorations made in a conventional way.
Materials Used with CEREC
CEREC users have a wide range of materials available to work with. Zirconia, Feldspar Ceramics, sintered metals, composite resin, non-precision metal alloys are just a part of the dental materials used with this method. Full ceramic restorations are very popular these days. They are highly-aesthetic and indicated for both the frontal and posterior part of the mouth.
Glass Ceramics can be feldspathic ceramics (Vitablocs® Mark II), mica-based, leucite-reinforced (ProCAD™, IPS Empress CAD, Empress™ CAD LT, Empress™ CAD Multi, Paradigm™), lithium disilicate reinforced ceramics (IPS™ e.max CAD), glass infiltrated alumina and zirconia ceramics (Vita™ InCeram Classic group including InCeram™ Alumina, Spinell and Zirconia).
Zirconia can be used for both full ceramic restorations and also for frameworks. This material is one of the latest innovations in dentistry. It is very biocompatible, has a high strength and it allows the preservation of the dental tissues. On the market, there are different types of Zirconia, so that you can get all the qualities you need in a certain restoration. Some types of this material are best to use for dental frameworks, while others are great for non-veneered restorations.