Convenient Crowns

A dental procedure that used to take weeks now takes less than 15 minutes thanks to a high-tech machine. It carves crowns while patients watch and wait.

It’s not the most comfortable experience, but Shelley says getting a crown used to be worse. Now her dentist uses a computer called the “Cerec System Two.”

Until now, Mark Melson, D.D.S., a dentist in Raytown, Mo., made impressions, or molds of teeth, and sent them to a lab. He had to wait weeks to get crowns and other tooth coverings made. Now he does it himself.

Dr. Melson starts by spraying a thin, white coat of powder on the tooth. A high-tech camera takes a picture of the powder and forms a computer image. Once the design is finished, it goes into a workshop of sorts. In just 11 minutes, a ceramic block is transformed into Shelley’s crown. It’s then bonded to her tooth.

Dr. Melson says, “The 10-year studies that have been done on this procedure in the United States, Canada and Europe all show this to be just as durable as any ceramic that comes from the lab.”

Most patients like the convenience. They no longer have to wear a temporary crown for weeks while a lab makes the real one.

“If we can spend an hour completing a procedure that would normally take two visits and two weeks in between, that’s a huge benefit to the patient,” explains Dr. Melson.

Shelley says, “I have a tight schedule, and it helped because it’s only one visit.”

According to Dr. Melson, the costs are the same as crowns that take weeks to make. He says NASA developed the ceramic used to make Cerec crowns. It’s similar to the material used on the outside of a space shuttle to protect it during re-entry into the atmosphere.

Source: Ivanhoe @2000

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