At Fiddlehead, we use computers to restore very fragile teeth, without crowns, in a single visit!
CEREC® is the least painful, most conservative, most cosmetic, and most economical kind of restoration being done in the world today.
Our doctors have mastered CEREC®, since 2003, becoming members of an exceptional group of only 1% of dentists in the United States who use computers to restore teeth.
We are 100% certain that this is the future of dentistry and we would encourage anyone who needs large, old silver fillings replaced to consider CEREC® well before deciding to have numerous crowns done.
We use CEREC® in a very rare way: we use it to help our patients avoid crowns and caps!
For over 13 years, we have exclusively used our CEREC® computer to make precision onlays (tiny porcelain puzzle pieces) that replace only the missing or unhealthy part of your tooth. We know of no other dentist in the U.S. using the computer almost exclusively in this way.
Dr. Lynda has taken CEREC® technology in one other direction...
Dr. Lynda can also use our CEREC® technology to do the same kind of dentistry as you may have seen on TV makeover shows. The following photos are one visit makeovers we've done for our patients right here in St. Albans, Vermont!
WHY WE USE IT
Benefits to our patients:
- Treatment completed in ONE appointment. This is a fabulous time savings for the patient. Less time away from work. And no second visit to worry about! That's so much easier on patients' nerves. One and done!
- We can help you avoid "crowns" 90% of the time! CEREC® puzzle pieces (onlays) allow us to leave all the healthy enamel on the tooth and only replace the bad part.
- No gagging on messy impressions. We simply take a picture of your teeth with a camera about the size of your finger.
- No temporary crowns to worry about for weeks after the first visit.
- Far fewer CEREC® teeth that need root canals. We can't explain this, but now that we have such a long track record, we definitely see that this technology is much kinder to fragile teeth.
- This is the most bio-compatible material to date. This porcelain has many of the same properties as human enamel.
- CEREC® restorations are almost invisible in teeth. In fact, now that we've been doing them since 2003, many of our patients over age 50 have teeth that look like a 16 year old's teeth, because all their CEREC® dentistry is invisible except on X-rays.
Here's the process...
1. The old silver filling... This tooth has some problems that are very typical: it has decay in-between the teeth (which can only be seen on the X-ray) and you can clearly see the "blue-gray" hue on the whole lower corner of the tooth around the silver filling. We always find decay under these blue-gray areas. There is also a crack that extends from the old silver filling down the side of the tooth, at 7 o'clock. Fractures are a very commonly associated with old silver fillings that look like this.
2. The decay... The photo at right was taken immediately after the silver filling was removed. You can see the brownish-orange decay that we found under the filling. This is a common finding under fillings that have been in place for more than 25 years. Unfortunately, the decay is not often evident on X-rays because X-rays can't pass through metal. And so far, after doing more than 10,000 CEREC ®restorations, we have not found an exception to this rule of thumb - A bluish-gray hue around an old filling means trouble.
3. The preparation... This is a picture of a photo CEREC® makes on our computer of how the tooth was shaped after we removed all of the decay. You can see that we have left more than half of the tooth untouched and we have only removed the tooth structure that was decayed or left too thin. After this photo was taken, tiny robotic arms in the CEREC® milling machine milled the precise puzzle piece out of a block of porcelain about the size of a sugar cube. Make sure you check out how it mills the porcelain at your appointment!
4. The final CEREC®... This photo shows the finished, nearly invisible, restoration. The procedure took less than one hour. The "drilling time" was less than 4 minutes. The whole process was completed in one visit without putting the patient through messy impressions or temporary crowns. For many people, the experience is simply a "non-event" and as quickly as the next day they feel as though nothing happened!
A unique technology:
Why isn't every dentist using CEREC® ?
- Firstly, CEREC® is unique in all the world. It has no competitors, so the cost of bringing this technology into a dental office has increased rather than decreased. (In 2003, when we started with CEREC®, the technology cost HALF as much as it does now!) This makes it almost impossible for new dentists, or dentists nearing retirement, to start with CEREC®. Dr. Chuck and I started with this technology at the ideal time.
- Secondly, the "learning curve" with this technology is enormous, and requires a very tech-savvy interest. Fortunately, Dr. Chuck and I took on this technology at the perfect time in our careers, when we had the time and mind-set to overcome any hurdles. I think we learned it very quickly because we both have artistic backgrounds. It takes a particular skill-set to work in CEREC's 3D ®computer graphics smoothly and efficiently.
- Lastly, CEREC® has its critics, because many dentists are worried that the onlays will break, leak or fall out. Most of the dentists who are critics have never used or mastered CEREC®. We are proud to tell you that we have done well over 10,000 of these restorations now and they have amazed us with their success. Far and away, they are more predictable than caps and crowns, far easier on the patient, and they are the most economical because patients almost never have the added costs of Root Canals and Build-up.
- In short: when a tooth needs more than a small filling, CEREC® onlays out-perform every other technique we have seen. If we had experienced any disappointing or common failures, we would have been forced to abandon the technology long, long ago.
Here's some photos that might interest a dentist who is looking at this page to learn about CEREC®. (You will see the date on this first photo was even before "digital" photography - 2005 - and yet we were already using 3D imageing at Fiddlehead!)
Here's another series to photos to show you how miraculous CEREC® is at saving teeth with almost no good tooth structure left. This next tooth would have needed a root canal and a build up to save, if we did not have CEREC® to offer this patient. It would have doubled the cost! Take a look at the steps..
That might have been TMI for many of you, but we do get dentists contacting us to learn about the unique way we use CEREC because we know of no one who is teaching dentists to use the technology in this conservative and much more thoughtful way.
Why "thoughtful"? Because all the dental technology and materials of the future are being geared toward "enamel bonding". If the dentist shaves your tooth down for a crown, then you have no enamel on that tooth anymore, and future leaps in technology may not benefit teeth with crowns.
** To be sure, some teeth can only be saved with crowns and caps, but CEREC is the best tool in the toolbox for many, and we hope this important innovation eventually comes to all dental patients everywhere.
HOW IT WORKS
To be sure that you are perfectly comfortable, we will use a uniquely gentle technique to numb the tooth that needs repair.
Then we will remove only the defective filling and decay. (This is much more conservative than a conventional crown. With CEREC Technology, we can leave all of your healthy enamel untouched. For a crown, the tooth must be shaved down to a stump.) After we are finished with this step, your tooth will often be missing something shaped like a puzzle piece.
With a very small camera connected to a computer, we acquire a picture of your tooth
The computer then searches its database of thousands teeth, and it determines how your tooth should be shaped if it was back to it's earliest healthy state. A 3D image of your tooth, perfectly restored, will appear on the screen. The doctor approves of this or edits it slightly.
Once finalized, the information is then wirelessly sent to a machine on-site that uses diamond-coated instruments to precision mill the restoration out of a small ceramic (porcelain) block. This milling process takes 7 to 12 minutes.
After milling, the new restoration is checked for perfect fit. (Within 50-100 microns: this is close to the width of a human hair.)
We then bond this restoration to your remaining tooth with a unique light; a process that unites porcelain and tooth to the maximum extent possible.
Lastly, we complete a final polish that ensures a natural appearance making the porcelain blend with your tooth.
We have taken these same kinds of 4-step photos of nearly every CEREC® we've ever done. We have literally thousands of photos like these of our patients' teeth, before and after repair: every possible configuration of CEREC® restoration.
Interested in seeing if CEREC® is right for you?
Please call for an appointment if you would like us to evaluate the state of your older silver fillings. If they were placed more than 20 years ago, it is likely that you have a number of teeth in this condition. We have intra-oral cameras in every room which we will use to show you your teeth in an effort to partner with you for the best possible outcomes.