New technology at a couple of area dental practices eliminates the two-visit process to treat severe tooth damage or decay. A computer-assisted design and manufacturing unit, the CEREC Acquisition Center allows patients to have a crown or bridge created and attached while they wait.
"It takes from an hour to an hour and a half," says Dr. William R. Adams, founder of Grove Avenue Family Dentistry (4315 Grove Ave., 285-1378). Crowns and bridges replace the entire tooth or part of the tooth with a porcelain form.
Before he purchased the new system in 2005, Adams says, the procedure began with taking tooth impressions, which were sent to a lab where a technician would hand-trim and mark the impressions before the form was manufactured. On a second visit weeks later, the crown or bridge would be cemented to the tooth. CEREC, a Sirona Dental Systems technology, begins by taking a picture with an automatic camera that sends digital images of the tooth to a computer. The crown is then designed in front of the patient, a five-minute step. The push of a button sends the picture to a wireless milling unit. "It takes about six to 12 minutes to fabricate a crown," Adams says. The form is stained, glazed and set in a porcelain oven, a 20-minute procedure, then cemented to the patient's tooth.
Rusnak Family Dentistry (2314 E. Parham Road, 262-1060) also offers CEREC procedures. CEREC crowns cost patients no more than traditional crowns, says Adams, whose practice has done more than 1,000 in the past four years