By Dr. Farid Noie
Do you remember when LensCrafters® first opened? It was 1983 when LensCrafters® successfully combined a clinician (optometrist), CAD/CAM, and glass milling (lens grinding) together under one roof in about an hour. It also placed the control of the entire procedure in the hand of the treating doctor from start to finish. Those of you who wore glasses in 80s probably remember visiting your optometrist, getting a prescription, selecting choice “A” or “B” as the optometrist flipped through lenses, then picking out your “lens-free” frames only to be told: “Come back in two weeks and we’ll have them ready for you.” If there were any problems with them, the cycle continued for another two weeks until it felt right. Today, we get a little impatient waiting more than an hour to get our new prescription glasses, and we don’t think twice about the quality of the end result.
In the same decade (’80s), three dental pioneers (Duarte, Moermann and Andersson) began working on a similar concept in the field of dental care, utilizing CAD/CAM technology. They collaborated with a German company named Sirona and introduced the first “in office” and “same day” designed and milled machine about 15 years ago. Unfortunately, technology needed had not yet reached the concept. First generation oral scanners were not able to accurately capture the 3D image of prepared tooth or required a lot of powder and other mediums to work. Besides, they were limited on what material they could mill. Most available materials were not durable and had some challenges from a functional perspective.
Consequently, traditional porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns with all their flaws and drawbacks remained the method of choice for nearly 50 years. During that period, other dental technological advances continued to change dentistry drastically. Dental implants revolutionized the way we treat tooth loss. Patients no longer had to endure awkward removable appliances or grind two or more healthy teeth and connect them together just because they lost a tooth or more. Other advances such as predictable guided bone and tissue regeneration, digital and 3D radiography, LED head lamp illumination with over 17,000 candles brightness, 6+ times Magnification loups, and laser dentistry are just some of the many new improvement in the field of oral health that allowed practitioners to replace and restore natural teeth with something nearly as good.
Over the last two decades some cosmetic minded dentists experimented with all porcelain crowns. They were certainly more natural looking and solved some of the most common shortcomings of traditional crowns such as dark lines around the margins and lifeless appearance due to inability of metal (under porcelain) to transmit light. But, they were more brittle than natural teeth and fractured at an alarming rate.
Today, utilization of Zirconium oxide (Crystal Diamond) has finally provided cosmetic dentists a durable ceramic alternative to traditional porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns. A recent comprehensive study at NYU concluded that results seen with new crystal diamond restorations are comparable to the “gold standard”. Another study at University of Michigan determined that “There were no clinically long term identified cases of crown fracture or chipping with newest generation of Crystal Diamond.” The study further concluded that, “Performance of these new products has exceeded that of traditional PFM (Porcelain-fused-to-metal) restorations as well as many other all-ceramic restorations.”
In-office chair- side CAD/CAM is an empowering tool that enables cosmetic dentists and their staffs to take complete control of several aspects involved with creating and delivering durable and esthetic all-ceramic restorations. It will also eliminates the need for temporary crowns and all the inconveniences that come with it. Most importantly, It will allow me to complete the entire procedure the same day without a need for a second appointment.
To find out more about this exciting new technology please contact our office at 281-332-4700 to schedule a complimentary consultation. Please mention this article and receive a $50 discount on your next same day all ceramic crown.