Guest Post from The New Dentist Advisory Board Member Dr. Nicole Smith (Calif.)
Recently I was lucky enough to attend the Cerec 30 Convention in Las Vegas—a continuing education program celebrating 30 years of Cerec. Yes, Cerec has been around for 30 years! I still hear the question from patients and colleagues alike asking if CAD/CAM is new technology, and clearly it is not. I have been using my Cerec CAD/CAM machine on a daily basis in my offices for about 6 years and it has significantly changed how I practice. For one, I am more conservative with my dentistry—I am much more likely to do an onlay now instead of a crown if I am able to save tooth structure without sacrificing strength. Also, I am now almost completely metal free—my work looks better and is healthy for the patients. It makes me a better dentist—I design my restorations so I see where my preps excel and where they lack in finesse, allowing me to know what prep designs work the best for different restorations. And of course, it is a time saver for my patients. I am able to prep and cement an onlay in less than an hour and a crown in less than 2 hours. CAD/CAM has been a worthwhile investment for me because I have embraced the technology and use it daily. The Cerec 30 Convention blew my mind though…there is so much more I can do with my Cerec machine than I ever knew!
Snoring and Sleep Apnea Therapy—A CAD/CAM machine can be used to make appliances that open a patient’s airway and keep them off of a CPAP machine. Truly a service your sleep apnea patients will thank you for!
TMD—Treating patients with just a simple nightguard impression to the lab is a thing of the past when you can use your Cerec to image and design custom TMD appliances.
Veneers—The next step in CAD/CAM proficiency allows you to change your patient’s smile in just 1 visit.
CBCT—You can now connect your Cerec with your Cone Beam machine for making precise stents for implant surgery. This is groundbreaking! You don’t need to wait a week for the lab to get the stent back to your office. You are able to take your 3D radiograph, design your stent, and place your implant the same day with excellent precision and time efficiency.
Implant Abutments and Crowns—The technology now allows us to make our own custom implant abutments and crowns right there in the office!
CAD/CAM is changing the world of dentistry at a pace faster than I ever expected. There is so much exciting development out there in using digital technology that can make my patients’ visits faster and more enjoyable. But in the long run it is also making dentistry more exciting for me to practice and evolve in! I truly believe that the technology you choose to invest in will only be worthwhile if you commit to using it on a regular basis and learn everything it can do for you. For me, I am thankful I took the plunge with investing in Cerec, and I know my patients are too!
Nicole Smith, DDS, is a 2009 graduate from New York University College of Dentistry. She was class president for 3 years, is a member of several professional organizations and recipient of honors and awards for her contributions. She partnered with a group practice organization and now owns 2 dental offices in Southern California.