Downtown Dental Excellence offers CEREC Dentistry in Cleveland, TX

The CEREC procedure is an exciting development in dentistry that has allowed dentists to restore teeth in as little as one visit. This procedure involves a few different, simple steps that allow a dentist to properly look at your teeth, come up with a plan of action, build a dental prosthetic (such as a CEREC crown) and then install that dental prosthetic in very little time.

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What is CEREC?

Since 1987, dentists have been using the CEREC procedure to digitally construct tooth replacement prosthetics—removing the need for traditional crowns and fillings. This is done through a process that involves impression free scans of the teeth, construction of a ceramic prosthetic (such as a CEREC crown) then the placement of that prosthetic.

What Does CEREC Stand For?

The acronym CEREC stands for “Chairside Economical Restoration of Esthetic Ceramics.” This acronym essentially describes various aspects of the procedure. A chairside scan is completed, which is economical—saving both the dentist and the patient time. The CEREC procedure also involves creating a ceramic that matches the shade of the tooth that is being restored—providing the patient with a prosthetic that blends in with the rest of the teeth surrounding it.

All of this combined defines the CEREC procedure.

What Are Impression Free Scans?

With many tooth restoration options, an impression must be made. This is usually an uncomfortable procedure, that can often lead to patients gagging. Not only that, but traditional impressions also don’t always come out as accurate as they need to be. When this happens, a dentist has to repeat the impression—putting the patient through the hassle of making a new impression.

Impression free scans—which are an aspect of the CEREC method—allow a dentist to use a machine that takes a 3D impression of the patient’s teeth without having the patient bite down on anything. This allows for more comfort for the patient, as well as a detailed scan for the dentist to use to create the necessary prosthetic (such as a CEREC crown).

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What Is The Acquisition Unit?

There are two main units used in the CEREC procedure—the acquisition unit, and the milling unit. The acquisition unit compiles data using a unique camera and special computer program. As your dentist scans your teeth, the information is loaded into the computer program. From there, the acquisition unit is able to compile the data needed to design a prosthetic for the tooth. This generally only takes a couple of minutes. Your dentist will then design the model that is necessary to create the ceramic piece for your CEREC crown or filling utilizing the milling unit.

What Is The Milling Unit?

The milling unit is the machine that is used to create the actual ceramic piece (such as a CEREC crown) that will be placed in your mouth. A ceramic block is placed in the milling unit, which is then carved into the design your dentist created for the replacement. This process generally takes 10 to 20 minutes—varying on the size of the prosthetic and the design that needs to be created.

The ceramic piece that is used will match the shade of the surrounding teeth—giving it a natural appearance.

Once the milling process is finished, your dentist will take the new CEREC crown or filling and place it in your mouth. This means you’ll have a scan completed, and a replacement created and placed, all in one visit!

Why CEREC Dental Crowns Are Necessary

The crown of a tooth is the part of a tooth that can be seen above the gum line. When this part of the tooth is damaged, dental bonding, a veneer or a CEREC crown may be necessary. If the tooth is damaged below the gum line, other options may be considered. A crown can be compromised in a variety of different ways, but often it is either due to damage sustained to the tooth, or tooth decay.

A prosthetic dental CEREC crown goes over the natural tooth, and replaces the crown that has been damaged. This allows the patient to bite and chew the way that they used to. Materials like ceramic help to give the appearance of a natural tooth—making the replacement difficult to notice.

Do I Need a CEREC Crown?

If you notice that your tooth has been damaged, or if you are feeling pain or pressure in the tooth, set an appointment with your dentist. Do not wait until your next regularly scheduled appointment. If you wait too long, you risk any infection in the tooth spreading, or any damage to the tooth getting worse.

Once you see your dentist, they will examine your teeth and decide what the proper course of treatment is. If the tooth is not damaged to the point where it needs to be replaced, your dentist may opt to place a dental crown. If the equipment for a CEREC procedure is available, they will create a CEREC crown for you the same day!

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CEREC Crowns

The CEREC procedure is often used to create replacement CEREC crowns. These CEREC crowns are made by scanning the damaged tooth with an impression free scanner, which then feeds the information to the acquisition unit, which create a full-color, 3D model of the tooth. From there, your dentist will design the restoration. The restoration is then built using the milling unit, from a block of ceramic. Your dentist will then check the fit of your CEREC crown. If they are happy with the results, they will place the CEREC crown.

Taking Care of Your Teeth After a Placement

Remember that the CEREC crown that has been placed only covers part of the tooth. You will still have your natural root. Because of this, it’s extremely important to brush the replacement tooth, floss around it and wash your mouth out. This should be done twice a day. With proper oral care and regular trips to the dentist, a CEREC crown may be avoided entirely. Still, accidents happen, and if your tooth is damaged you may need to have a CEREC crown placed.

Speak with your dentist about the CEREC procedure—and CEREC crowns—if you have any additional questions about replacements.