The term CEREC as used in dentistry stands for Chairside Economical Restoration of Esthetic Ceramic. This is a system that uses CAD/CAM (computer-aided design and computer-aided manufacturing) to fabricate dental restorations. According to a review in the Journal of Dentistry and Oral Care, the system can be used to design crowns, inlays and onlays, fixed bridges, veneers, dental implants, dentures and some orthodontic appliances.

How does Cerec Work?

Let's say that you're seeing your dentist for a digitally manufactured crown. Your dentist will first anesthetize the area and prepare the tooth in question. Then, your dentist will scan the tooth with the CEREC device, which takes a digital impression and use the image to make a computerized design of the crown restoration. Next, they will send the digital design to either a machine in the dental office or a remote dental laboratory where a custom crown will be milled from a solid block of restorative material — usually a type of ceramic.

If the final crown is manufactured in the office, it will also be sintered and polished before being bonded to your tooth during your visit. If the restoration was sent to be made at a dental laboratory, your dentist will provide a temporary crown for you to wear until the final restoration can be delivered and placed at a follow-up appointment.

What are the Cerec Advantages for the Dentist and Patient?

There are several advantages for both dental providers and patients when using the CEREC system:

The rapid design process allows for same-day service. Because treatment can often be accomplished in one visit, it saves you from multiple visits to the dental office. This process eliminates the need for dentists to stock up on disposable impression materials and there is no need for a temporary restoration if the treatment is completed on the same day. 

The restoration is typically sturdy; according to a study in the International Journal of Computerized Dentistry, 87.5 percent of CEREC inlays and onlays fabricated using this technique lasted for 27 years of use.

CAD/CAM restorations perform and fit very well, as indicated by a study in the Journal of Prosthetic Dentistry, which found clinically acceptable marginal discrepancy ranges (a measurement of fit) for these types of restorations.


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