So what new developments have come forth in Dentistry recently ?
To handle this question I prefer to give you the edited version (i.e. the tech that has been tested, passed by the authorities and in use currently in certain dental practices).
First developed almost 30 years ago and seen many evolutions since, this technology allows the dentist to produce chair-side crowns and inlays digitally without the need to use conventional impressions or dental laboratories.
It works like this:
Tooth/teeth preparation is carried out in the conventional way; a digital scanner is used to 3-dimensionally scan upper and lower teeth;
by small automated milling unit within the same practice.
After milling the restoration is put into a furnace for blasting. In theory, most restorations will be ready to fit within 1-2 hours.
Pros: Quick – Claimed to take 1-2 hours time compared to 1-2 weeks in a laboratory. This is not always true though. Most systems can take up to half a day to complete.
Your clinician is making the restoration, not a lab technician in another city. Therefore any mistakes can be rectified much faster. Your dentist also knows what he/she wants for you; so communication errors are minimal since there is no need to write, call or email the technician.
Cons: Proficiency of your clinician is dependent on his/her experience with the machines.
These machines are very expensive, therefore your dentist may charge more for these CadCam milled restorations (also potential for overprescription of these restorations over conventional fillings).
Some dentists argue that high level aesthetics on front crowns are still only possible with human technicians.
These units are still rare among UK dentists. The cost can approach 55-80 thousand pounds. The success of restorations produced in this way is not always 100%. The first scanner units to be produced required the teeth to be completely dry and coated with a powder spray before a successful scan could be completed. That is no longer required. Similarly, other areas of CAD CAM systems are becoming more user-friendly every year. But the system is far from fully automated and may take some time to become just that.