Dentists have decided to go hi-tech. More and more dentists are using a computerized system to make perfectly shaped teeth. In addition to improving your smile, it can also cut down on the time you have to spend in the dentist's chair.
It's called CEREC Restoration and is named after the manufacturer that developed the system. Here's how it works. After preparing the tooth for a crown or a filling, the dentists takes a series of pictures with a specially designed camera. The camera then sends those images to the computer, which designs the crown or filling. The dentist then takes a block of porcelain and loads it into a milling machine. The computer then tells two robot arms how to carve the block of porcelain into a perfectly shaped tooth. Dr. Kevin Mooney of Woburn has been using the system for several years now, but he is one of the few on the north shore to have the technology.
He says patients love it because a traditional crown would take two visits and three weeks to complete. With the CEREC procedure, he can do it in less than two hours. “People don't have a lot of time these days, where the can come back for a second visit,” he explained. Right now less than five percent of dentists in the country are using this technology. Dr. Dan Nathanson of Boston University Dental School says that is changing. “I envision that in five years, more than 50 percent of the dentists in America will have this technology,” he said.
Dr. Mooney also uses this technology to replace those old silver fillings. “Our generation has a lot of big, silver fillings,” he said. “As they start to wear down, they end up splitting the tooth.” Dr. Mooney says porcelain fillings help to prevent that cracking and they can last more than 15 years.
The price for a crown is about the same as the traditional method. But replacing a silver fillings is not cheap. Most insurance will only cover about half, so it will cost you a few hundred dollars out of your pocket.