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July 2008 
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If you've been dreading the prospect of a dental crown or filling in the near future, new developments in cosmetic dentistry may make your experience a whole lot simpler -- and quicker -- then you ever thought possible.

This ray of light in the world of dental restoration is CERAC (“Chairside Economical Restoration of Esthetic Ceramics”), a product which allows dentists to size and create permanent dental crowns during just one sitting with a patient. The key, as you might guess, is modern computer technology. More specifically, dentists can now use a CAD-CAM (“Computer-Assisted Design, Computer-Assisted Manufacture”) to create a digital image of a crown or filling precisely fitted to your damaged tooth. The computer is then able to use this information to create the needed crown from a section of ceramic on-site. This means that your ideal dental crown can be sized, milled and applied, all while you sit patiently in the dentist's chair! One visit, one procedure, and you're good to go!

For those unaware, dental restoration has traditionally been a far more complicated, drawn out process. Patients would need to make at least two separate visits to their dentist, with the first being primarily focused on taking a deep impression of the teeth and installing an often uncomfortable temporary crown. The impression would then need to be sent to a lab for analysis and the meticulous creation of a permanent crown. CEREC one-visit crowns eliminate these steps, saving loads of time and stress for both the patient and the dentist.

The CEREC approach isn't just used for crowns, either. Many cosmetic dentists have taken to crafting porcelain fillings with CEREC, and some have even used the technology to create porcelain veneers. This might seem like a major aesthetic challenge, since CEREC molds are created from single blocks of porcelain that won't easily match the natural gradation of human teeth. However, many talented cosmetic dentists have managed to customize these color gradations on CEREC veneers, making it an even more viable option not just for back teeth, but for some front tooth procedures, as well.

If there's a downside to CEREC dental crowns, it may be the price tag, which looks considerably higher than traditional crown procedures at first. However, without the need for a second appointment or lab time, the cost difference may not be as great as it seems. To decide if CEREC is right for you, and to learn about cosmetic dentists in your area who offer this option, feel free to contact one of our helpful SignatureForum customer service liaisons today (866-355-7162). Or, to read more about CEREC and other treatments in cosmetic dentistry, check out our resources at Healthy Smile Forum.

Until Next Time,
The SignatureForum Staff

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