What’s New in Dentistry – CAD/CAM Technology

Oral care has come a long way.  About 8000 years ago in Babylon people used a “chewing stick” which was no more than a stick or twig with a pointed or frayed tip. Today we use computer aided design and manufacturing (CAD/CAM). That is quite a jump!  Today, there is an entire industry focused around improving your dental experience and using technology to do so.  In this post, we will cover some of what’s new in the dental field so when you see it at Cooper Moss Advanced Dentistry, it’s not a big surprise!

A major technological advancement for patients and dentists has been the advent of CAD/CAM technology in the dental office.  Cooper Moss Advanced Dentistry was one of the very first dental offices in the State of Washington to utilize this technology.  In fact, Dr. Cooper has been utilizing it since 1993, and has trained other dentists around the country on the use of this technology.

By using sophisticated software, the dentists at Cooper Moss are able to see a three dimensional model of your mouth on a computer screen.  They can also  create dental restorations right in our office that would previously have been made by a laboratory.  The patient benefits are immense in terms of time and accuracy.

CAD/CAM technology is usually combined with other technologies to shorten time in the dentist chair and reduce the number of visits.  Prior to this technology, all major tooth restorations required dentists to make a mold of the tooth and send it to a lab. The lab would then carve and cast a crown, send it back to the dentist, and you would need to return for another appointment. In-office CAD/CAM technology reduces these steps and allows the dentist to make a crown while you wait. What used to take 1-2 weeks can now be done in less than two hours.

Restorations made with CAD/CAM technology will also fit the patient’s tooth better.  A better fit results in a stronger seal and a longer lasting result.

Some restorations still need to be sent to the laboratory for expanded material choices or custom aesthetic work not possible with a same-day procedure.  The good news is that modern dental laboratories now also use CAD/CAM technology.  Dentists send digital scans to the laboratory instead of the old style “impressions” many patients are familiar with.  This digital scan is then taken into the laboratory’s CAD/CAM system and restorations are made more quickly and more accurately than when made from an impression.

This technology has changed the world of dentistry but it is not alone. Subsequent posts will look at other new technologies for everything from dental implants to financing.  Our patients can take comfort in the fact that very smart people are working hard to help dentists make your dental experience better.  The next time you are in our office, look around and ask us to show you some of the new technologies we’re using and don’t be afraid to ask us a question about something you’ve seen, read about, or would like to hear about in our office.