3DP Applications

New Dental App – 3D Printed Porcelain Crowns

Sirona, a worldwide leader in dental tech, is offering local dentists a relieving solution – which can not only saves valuable time for patients in general, but more importantly, it also shortens the period of inevitable agony while waiting for a new crown for your tooth. The solution is an on-site CAD/CAM system called Cerec, which can provide custom made porcelain crowns in a matter of hours compared with the week long wait for the traditional moulding solution.

The process itself begins the same way as it traditionally does – with a local anaesthetic and some precise drilling – but after these initial steps the new tech comes into play. Instead of making a mould out of the troubled piece of chew-ware, the tooth is 3D scanned with a specialised software and sent to an on-site system for immediate manufacturing, which takes about an hour and produces an exact porcelain crown, which after a short waiting period is ready to be applied to the patient’s mouth.

As always with new tech, one of the first questions to come to mind are the costs for the end user. But interestingly many dentists offer Cerec crowns for the same price as with the regular moulded versions – believing the new solution wouldn’t be chosen by the patient if the cost were significantly higher, desipite the obvious benefits. However, this is not the case for everyone, as the complete package does cost a healthy $100k for the dentist, which some choose to amortize by directing the purchase costs to the patient.

Sirona Cerec Scanning

There are also some limitations to the usage of Cerec – for example, if the tooth is broken below the gum line it can’t be scanned. Also, ceramic material doesn’t allow for all the intricate elements that the traditional moulding process can produce – such as high level of structure detail or modification of external appearance (i.e. colour and shading of the crown). Basically this means that in the unfortunate event of you needing a new set of front teeth, this process wouldn’t necessarily be the ideal way to go.

Sirona is not the only manufacturer offering CAD/CAM systems for dentists world wide, but the quality of their service is quite convincingly backed up by their market share – which in this sector is reported at 95% and the tech is gaining momentum. Therefore the next time you have an appointment with your dentist for new crowns, there might be a good change of getting a set of CAM high-tech teeth in your mouth.

Source: The New York Times, Sirona