Nov 13, 2012

Crowns While You Wait

Instead of making a mold and sending it to a lab for scanning, dentists are now using a small camera to scan misshapen teeth. The digitized scan is then sent to an on-site milling machine that carves a crown from a block of porcelain. After preparation the crown is ready to be implanted.

The whole process is not much different than currently done. The area is numbed, and the dentist drills the tooth to shape it for the crown. Then the dentist uses a tiny camera to create a three-dimensional image of the drilled tooth. A computer program uses that to construct an image of what the tooth will look like with the crown in place. The image is transmitted to a machine on site mills the crown which is then glued on in the same process currently used.

Currently, the process is in use by about 10% of dentists, but will be used by more as the price of equipment comes down.