Clinical Application of CAD/CAM Software For Accurate Reproduction of Tooth Anatomy
Alex Touchstone, DDS
As a result of reviewing this case study, the
how advances in CAD/CAM technology make the process easier and more
reliable for dental professionals
the process of creating accurate models of tooth anatomy using CAD/CAM
Since the introduction of CAD/CAM technology to
dentistry over 20 years ago, the systems and procedures used to apply it during
patient care have evolved considerably. In the design stage, previous
generations of CAD software have required clinicians to define the margins around the circumference of the
remaining tooth structure, after which the computer would generate the
suggested morphology of the restoration. Through this approach, the clinician
often had to make time-consuming adjustments to the proposed restoration prior
to milling. New CAD/CAM software virtually eliminates the adjustment step,
creating a predictable restoration for users of virtually all skill levels.
Acquisition of Data
During the CAD Process
The latest generation of CAD software allows the
clinician to design and produce high-quality, all-ceramic restorations through
easy-to-use chairside tools. In order to facilitate data acquisition, the
clinician must first prepare the tooth as for any restoration, image the
treatment site and adjacent structures, and similarly capture and image a bite
registration of the opposing dentition. (Note that the bite registration
requirement may not be necessary depending on the CAD system utilized.) These
processes yield data points (eg, cusp tips, fissures) that will be analyzed in
the software in order to recreate harmonious tooth morphology and occlusion for
Once the virtual models are generated, the user
simply draws a margin around the preparation. The software then recreates the tooth
morphology unique to the tooth that is being restored. The inclusion of a bite
registration allows for complete occlusal adjustments to occur automatically.
Thus, the initial proposed restoration is often the final result that is sent
to the milling machine for the production of the definitive restoration.
Ultimately, features of contemporary CAD/CAM software eliminate the need for
time-consuming margin adjustments, streamlines the design process, and ensures
a more predictable outcome.
practice, Charlotte, NC.
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