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Oral care is in no way where it all started thousands of years ago. Around 8000 years ago, people in Babylon would use what you could call a chewing stick for oral care. The stick would either be pointed or have a frayed tip. Things are stack contrast today, thanks in part to computer aided design and manufacturing, CAD/CAM).

Unlike in those olden days, oral care in now a billion-dollar industry where doctors and innovators are focused on making people’s dental experience the best it could be. So, what role has CAD/CAM played in the oral care industry?

Ever since it was invented, dentists and patients have benefited immensely from CAD/CAM and all it brings. While some dentists were a little reluctant to embrace this technology – a common phenomenon in the healthcare industry – it did not take long before most healthcare practitioners saw the its incredible benefits and the need to embrace it for better oral care for their patients.

TrueNorth EMR Consultants and other such healthcare IT experts have been at the fore in helping dentists use sophisticated computer applications to see a patient’s mouth as a three-dimensional model via a computer screen. Dentists can now make better judgements about the state of your oral care using these technologies.

Before the emergence of these technologies, dentists would have had to get their patients’ dental restorations made in a laboratory. But now, they can create them right within their dental clinics. This saves a lot of time and resources will improving the accuracy of the dental solutions a patient receives from his dentist.

If you are a regular at a dentist’s office, then you know each visit will almost always take some money from your pocket. Additionally, the trips can take very long just sitting at the dentist’s chair as he examines your mouth. For this reason, it makes sense to want to reduce the number of visits without compromising the state of your dental health.

By combining CAD/CAM with other emerging technologies, dentists have been able to reduce these visits as well as the time it takes to undergo full examination or treatment at the dentist’s office. Before CAD/CAM, dentists seeking to do tooth restorations needed to create a mold of your tooth to send to the lab for carving and crown casting. That means the patient had to visit his dentist at least twice for this procedure to run its course.

Using CAD/CAM technology at the office has enabled dentists to create a crown while the patient waits. Instead of waiting for weeks to get a crown, a patient can visit his dentist and leave two hours later with a crown in his mouth. What’s more dentists achieve greater accuracy using CAD/CAM resulting in better fitting crowns that create a stronger seal as well as a result that will last longer.

Some patients worry about the hardness of a CAD/CAM crown and the possibility of adjacent teeth suffering damage, but dentists say such an outcome is unlikely.

“I have been placing CAD/CAM restorations for 6 years now in my office and have not seen damage to the surrounding teeth in any cases,” says Cedar Rapids dentist Dr. Blaine McLaughlin. “The porcelain that was used years ago use to cause some major wear on the opposing tooth, but the material is designed today to prevent that from happening.”

But Dr. Scott Greenhalgh, a Denver dentist says ceramic crowns can sometimes cause excessive wear if they are not fine polished.

“Any ceramic crown needs to be final polished appropriately. Sometimes I believe this last step gets missed. Rough ceramics can cause excessive wear,” he warns.

As for patients who are struggling with deciding whether to go for CEREC or gold crowns, Chicago dentist Dr. Ira Shapira says either of them is just as good.

“The beauty of both CEREC restorations and gold restorations is that they can conserve significant tooth structure.  The CEREC restoration is the most conservative in dentistry removing old restorations and decay and reinforcing remaining tooth with bonded ceram materials.  This is as close as we can come to regrowing teeth at this time and they are great restorations.”