CAD CAM: Making New Teeth

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It's the stuff of science fiction showing up in dental offices. Dentists and prosthodontists are using computers to make teeth, implants, and dentures. (KFSN)

It's the stuff of science fiction showing up in dental offices. Dentists and prosthodontists are using computers to make teeth, implants, and dentures. It's a process called computer-aided design and computer-aided manufacturing, or CAD CAM.

Irene Hasal has been through the wringer with her teeth. She had many procedures to fix problems and finally got implants. Within a month, her teeth were breaking.

Then Mamaly Reshad, DDS, a prosthodontist at the Anacapa Dental Art Institute told her about CAD CAM. A computer scans the patient's mouth to make a custom image of what's needed.

Dr. Reshad told Ivanhoe, "We put it inside the computer like a cartoon, an avatar, and from there, we create a tooth, a virtual tooth. The virtual tooth becomes a real tooth through a manufacturing process."

A computer-aided milling machine makes teeth out of a block of ceramic or composite resin.

Dr. Reshad used CAD CAM for Hasal's whole procedure. It helped him to find the best placement for her implants, and to make a prosthesis.

Hasal's case was complicated and took almost a year. But CAD CAM can do one to two teeth in a morning.

"Now because it's going through this avatar, the computer, it can be done almost instantaneously; the same day. At least within 2 hours," Dr. Reshad explained.

It brought a perfect smile to Hasal's face.

Hasal told Ivanhoe, "I can do anything I want now. They fit great, they're beautiful and my face is the proper shape. So I couldn't be happier."

The CAD CAM process takes much less time than a conventional procedure, which can take weeks. Dr. Reshad says on average, it costs about 30% less as well. It is not typically covered by insurance.
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