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Thursday, January 05, 2023

Computing and Dentistry

 My impression was there was relatively little done in this space, I was wrong.  Note use of CAD/CAM tools.  Here are some examples.

Computers Aid Dentistry, January 5, 2023

A digital representation of a tooth.

New small-scale in-office CAD/CAM tools make it possible to go from preparing the tooth to fixing the permanent crown in a single visit.

Americans get fitted with 2.3 million dental crowns a year, according to the American College of Prosthodontists. Anyone who has had one knows the fitting of a dental crown is usually a lengthy, multistep procedure.

The standard process (once the tooth is prepared) starts with the dentist taking an impression of the tooth using a horseshoe-shaped tray filled with a putty-like substance. The impression is sent off to a laboratory that makes a model of the tooth from the mold, scans the model, and manufactures a crown to fit. It can take two to three weeks for the permanent crown to come back from the lab, and during that time the patient has to wear a temporary version, usually a cruder tooth-sized "cap." Finally, the patient returns to the office to have the permanent crown placed and reshaped as necessary.

New small-scale in-office CAD/CAM tools make it possible to go from preparing the tooth to fixing the permanent crown in a single visit. These Chairside Economical Restoration of Esthetic Ceramics (CEREC) systems rely on handheld 3D scanners, specialized computer-aided design (CAD) software, milling machines, and sintering ovens. Using such a system, a dentist can take a scan of the tooth, have the software model the crown and modify it as desired, and manufacture the actual restoration all in a few hours, without involving an outside lab.

How it started

The idea behind CEREC systems arose around 1980, when Dr. Werner Mörmann, a Swiss prosthodontist, reasoned that inlays could be produced in the dentist office by grinding them out of a block of ceramic. By 1985, working with Dr. Marco Brandestini, an electrical engineer, Dr. Mörmann had developed the first CEREC system, which entered clinical trials in 1987.

It is difficult to get a fix on how many CEREC systems are in use today. In 2014, CEREC ACCEPT, which offers training in the use of CEREC systems, claimed that more than 40,000 systems had been sold worldwide. One of the reasons it's hard to pin down the number of systems in use is that a CEREC system comprises multiple components that don't necessarily all come from the same vendor. "Not every manufacturer provides all devices for a CEREC workflow," according to Dentsply Sirona, a manufacturer of CEREC systems and an early partner of Dr. Mörmann. "We know that some practices use more than one scanner or milling unit, for example."

According to a Fortune Business Insights report on the dental CAD/CAM market in 2021, "The market is highly fragmented," with just a few major players accounting for most of the global market and other vendors active in specific regions or market segments. The report identified Key Companies in the sector as including:

Align Technology, Inc. (U.S.)

Dentsply Sirona (U.S.)

Axsys Dental Solutions (U.S.)

Medit Corp. (South Korea)

Institut Straumann AG (Switzerland)


3Shape A/S (Denmark)

YENADENT (Turkey)  .... ' 

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