Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Space Age Crowns?

CEREC is a system for making porcelain crowns that uses computer modeling and in-office manufacturing (CAD/CAM). We had a lecture on this thing last night at our local dental meeting. This system is not likely to be found in a pediatric office. This is something a general dentist who does several permanent tooth crowns a day would use (a crown is a restoration that covers the whole tooth). I cannot really explain it here other than to say the crown is make in the office rather than the dental lab and uses 3-D computer modeling and manufacture to make crowns and the like. Check out their site with the link on their name above to learn more. The system is almost $100,000 to buy. It is useful mainly for adults who need certain types of crowns and inlays. You don't need a second appointment and you don't need a temporary crown. If they had these twenty years ago I might have been a general dentist. Well, maybe not, but it sure seems like a great system. There are drawbacks to the system and the lab process that is normally used is much more adaptable and more of an art that this system.

By the way, wouldn't it be great if they could make this system practical for children's crowns?


Anonymous said...

I went to a CEREC seminar today and am wondering if it's possible to sink over 100,000.00 into this machine and then have it malfunction after the three year warranty runs out. The extended warranty doesn't include parts (thousand dollar gears). Are there other drawbacks to the CEREC that they aren't telling us? Thanks.

Dr. Dean Brandon said...

Well, I don't have all the warranty information, but I was impressed in that they seemed committed to having this thing work (in an economic sense too). If it breaks, I presume the warranty "fixes" it. I don't know if there's an extended warranty. A few years ago, there were questions about upgrading the software and how that's done. I think they addressed that reasonably. I guess everything depreciates and wears out over time like a car. In three years, there will be a "newer, better" model.

I can think of two pieces of equipment that are at the opposite ends of the spectrum: many years ago, we got an intra-oral camera, after a while it sat in the corner unused--a poor investment, then we bought a pan/ceph (Planmeca) it's been running over 15 years and is used every day, I mean we really use it!--a good investment.

As I wrote, I don't think this CEREC machine becomes economically practical unless you do a bunch of porcelain crowns per day (since I'm in Pedo, I do one once in a blue moon). So, I don't plan on getting one anytime soon.

Anonymous said...

The machine looks fine. But as dentists we must stick together in our venture to charge our patients through the nose.. I mean the mouth. I feel the need to have a Bugatti in my garage as 2 Lamborghini's and a Ferrari doesn't exite me as much any more. Plus it's hard to have fun down at the vacation home with only an Mercedes if you know where I'm coming from. A machine like this will enable me to charge my patients even more, LOL. Can't wait. Dr. Zingasnool of Florida JMJ

Dr. Dean Brandon said...

HA.. HA..!