Computer-Aided Design (CAD) and Computer-Aided Manufacturing (CAM) have been around for decades before foraying into the field of dentistry in the mid-1980s to revolutionize the process of dental prosthetics and restoration. In effect, CAD/CAM dentistry is the software that enables dental professionals to provide advanced dental care to patients using computer imagery.
CAD/CAM based restorations create and bond prosthetics such as crowns all in the same day. On the other hand, conventional prosthesis requires the use of temporary solutions wherein a dentist takes a mold of your oral structure to design a crown in a laboratory. Typically, this method takes several days. CAD/CAM dentistry involves the use of an optical camera that takes a digital picture of the mouth before converting it into a 3D image, which will then be transformed into a software program to create a computer-generated cast.
Here’s what a step-by-step process looks like:
As with anything in life, CAD/CAM dentistry comes with its own set of advantages and drawbacks. Let’s take a look at a few of them:
Bottom line, CAD/CAM dentistry has taken the dental professional into the future, albeit at a high cost. But, given how rapidly the industry is adopting the technology at large, the economy of scale is going to bring costs down in the coming years.
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