CAD-CAM(Computer-supported software/computer-supported manufacturing)
CAD-CAM systems, which were already in use in various fields, came into use in dentistry in the 1980’s. Thanks to the advancement of the CAD-CAM technology since that time, many treatment methods can now be performed in a single session.
Today, CAD-CAM systems are used in many areas such as smile design, inlays, onlays, laminate veneers, partial crowns and bridges, manufacturing of abutment for implant-supported prosthesis, design and manufacturing of hybrid prosthesis structures, manufacturing of stents used in implant surgery, and orthodontics.
In CAD-CAM systems, a measurement is taken inside the mouth using a computer, and it is restored in a digital medium by adding the desired features. The resulting prosthesis is processed using ready-made blocks and various colors with a milling device. After the process of brightening and finalizing of the surface features, the prosthetics is placed inside the mouth of the patient in a single session.
CAD-CAM applications bring with them many advantages. Traditional measurement methods have been abolished, and the waiting time has been shortened. It is now possible to prepare better restorative materials in a shorter time. Durable and aesthetic materials such as zirconia can be used with CAD-CAM systems, and quality control is possible thanks to standardization in manufacturing. Margin of error and risks of cross contamination have been minimized by abolishing laboratory processes that use indirect methods and take hours to complete.
One the most important advantages of CAD-CAM systems is the minimization of the waste of time for both dentists and patients as restorations can now be completed in a single session that only takes a couple of hours. With the elimination of the process of taking measurements, which decreases clinical sensitivity, it is no longer necessary to create a temporary crown. As the number of sessions decrease, this process is also economically advantageous. As with traditional methods, the success and durability of CAD-CAM systems depend on good preparation, and the dentist’s ability to take detailed digital measurements and make a good design.
Composite fillings can be successfully applied in the restoration of rear teeth. However, when there is too much material loss in teeth, the desired physical features cannot be regained. As they can be subject to discoloring and abrasion over time, cause tenderness after application and shrink during the hardening process, alternative treatment methods have been considered in the cases of large material loss. Inlays and onlays are prepared beforehand and placed inside the cavity using suitable glues. Inlays and onlays are prepared using composite and ceramic materials. While composite materials are easy to create, have lower costs and can be repaired, they have some disadvantages such as low durability, and a predisposition to abrasion and discoloration. Ceramic inlay-onlay fillings are biocompatible. They resist abrasion, and they are aesthetic. However, they require taking measurements using traditional methods, and it takes a few sessions to complete the treatment due to laboratory processes.
Nowadays, this disadvantage is no longer an issue since digital measurements can be performed inside the mouth thanks to CAD-CAM systems, and compatible and aesthetic inlays and overlays can be prepared in a couple of hours.