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The CAD/CAM system represents the last-generation technology in the field of dentistry: it consists of the creation of prosthetic devices, including crowns made entirely in ceramics (metal-free crowns), crowns in zirconium, veneers and inlays produced in composite and ceramics.
This new technology is divided into two phases: the first, is carried out in the dental clinic and the second, in the orthodontic laboratory.
After preparing the tooth or teeth (for which the prostheses are to be created) the dental surgeon takes the impression and can either carry out the classical method by making use of bite-tray inside which the impression material (called silicone) which is inserted before fitting the bite-tray inside the mouth (Figure 1). Or the impression can be taken with an intraoral camera (that photographs the teeth directly inside the patient’s mouth) in the area where the prosthesis is to be fitted (Figure 2).
These photos are then sent via email to the orthodontic laboratory. The latter transforms them from 2D to 3D images via the use of specific software, thereby perfectly recreating a 3D mould of the mouth (Figure 3).
In the event of the orthodontic technician taking the impression in the classical manner, that is, with the bite-tray, then here the impression will first be developed in plaster and then photographed with a scanner to ensure an effective yield of the models in 3D (Figure 4).
At this stage of the process, the design of the actual and final prosthesis is started, and these will be fitted into the patient’s mouth.
This is designed by the technician by the means of the digital CAD/ CAM programme: man and machine work together to guarantee the utmost precision and exceptional aesthetic results. (Figure 5)
Once the digital design is finished, a block of ceramics (or zirconium) is fitted into the milling machine, and, depending on the prosthesis requested by the dental surgeon, the technician goes to work. (Figure 6)
After finishing the process of creating the prosthesis in the milling machine (Figure 7), the orthodontic technician removes the milled block and carries out the finishing touches to ensure that the final results are a perfect match to the initial expectations.
The orthodontist principally checks the coloration and brilliance of the teeth, and finishes them off with a polishing procedure. This is the last step before delivering the prosthesis to the dental surgeon who will then fit it into the patient’s mouth.
As already mentioned above, the aesthetic and functional results in the case of inlays (Figure 8), single crowns (Figure 9) and veneers (Figure 10) are always extremely successful.
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