Digital Dental Crown: The Modern Day Dental Drive Through

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drive thru dental crown

As children we were always told that in the future ovens would do all the cooking, clothes would dress us and, of course, cars would soar through the air. Well don’t be too disenchanted just yet; while we all wait for our hover-boards to get through R&D, new technology has sprung up that makes the present a bit more practical than sky traffic.

One of the highlights at a recent event held by the American Dental Association in San Francisco, was the discussion that took place concerning the developments made regarding generating and repairing dental crowns. As many of you known in the past restoring a tooth with a dental crown was a minimum of a two visit affair, many times taking as long as three weeks from molding an impression to placement. Fortunately new technology has emerged that can reduce procedure time immensely; through minimizing the standard waiting time for a new crown to approximately one hour. This can open your practice up to a wide-array of potential opportunities.

The new technology I am referring to is the ability to digitally construct a new crown within feet of your office. The restoration process begins about the same as before; the area is first numbed, and the tooth is readied for the new crown. But instead of making an impression of the tooth, a tiny camera is used to create a three-dimensional image of the drilled tooth. A computer program uses that to construct an image of what the tooth will look like with the crown in place. Afterwards, a machine in a nearby room processes the little details; ridges and indentations-overall components to get just the right fit. The crown is carved out of porcelain or ceramic; about 15 minutes later the new crown is glued in.

While this sort of CAD/CAM-laymen’s terms for Computer-Aided Design and Computer Aided Manufacturing- work has been around since the early 90’s, the biggest concern was the cost. Up until now these sort of machines cost a pretty hefty penny. Starting at about $100,000 this sort of equipment may have been convenient, but was terrible for profits. Now, new and affordable equipment is being sold for as low as $12,000.

Digital printing is rapidly becoming high in demand and widely used in dental and medical offices everywhere. Many dentists are recognizing the added benefits of digital technology and are implementing these systems into their practices. There is no end to what this technology can do to enhance your practice. With such a large reduction in time involved in restorative procedures like dental crown creation, you are free to use that time for other ways to enhance your practice.

I am aware that many dentists are reluctant to change their strategies and procedures that they have been implementing for years, but implore you to research the effect new technology like this can have on your practice. In addition to the cost and efficiency benefits, I have found that patients appreciate a dental practice that is familiar with the most modern procedure techniques and strategies. Imagine informing your patients that the procedure can be done in less time, with no added pain. Digital dental crowns are only the beginning of the possibilities technology like this can bring to the dentistry industry.

John Baker

+Dr. John Baker contributes regularly to dental blogs and publications across the world. Currently he is lead contributor at Top Dentist New York, where the focus is to educate and inform New Yorkers on their local dentists. Use the local pages to research information, read reviews, find a dentist, and book an appointment. There are countless other resources to help the world have a healthier mouth and body. Check it out!

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+Dr. John Baker contributes regularly to dental blogs and publications across the world. Currently he is lead contributor at Top Dentist New York, where the focus is to educate and inform New Yorkers on their local dentists. Use the local pages to research information, read reviews, find a dentist, and book an appointment. There are countless other resources to help the world have a healthier mouth and body. Check it out!

Last modified: July 24, 2013

3 Responses to " Digital Dental Crown: The Modern Day Dental Drive Through "

  1. Pamela Waterman (@BracesFriendly) says:

    Thanks for highlighting this pretty amazing process, from scans to digitally-driven milling to 3D printing. I’ve had the opportunity to write about it from the manufacturing side, and my understanding is that the fit rate is about 90 to 95% without any rework. What a great change from the two-appointment, multiple rework approach (especially for those of us patients with TMJ tendencies).

    • Dr. John Baker says:

      Thank you for the comment. Yes digital printing technology can have some tremendous implications in the medical and dental industry. It is making dental restorations more efficient and effective than it ever has been. I look forward to seeing what else this technology will impact for the better for patients as well as professionals in the industry.

  2. tyler agent says:

    Thanks for the post, and just reading about dental crowns and the whole process of it all just sounds really painful. I just hope that I won’t ever have to get a crown because I don’t know if I could deal with the pain of it.

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