We're a little late with this recap, but still thought it would be fun to share our Maker experience! On November 19th Soulsmile helped sponsor and participate in the Rogue Valley Mini Maker Faire here in Ashland. Maker Faire is billed as "the Greatest Show (and Tell) on Earth" and its true! Its a family-friendly showcase of invention, creativity and resourcefulness. A place where people can share what they are making and learning.
We brought our CEREC machine to show people how we are using CAD/CAM technology in the dental office to make teeth! With this technology, we can provide patients with inlays, onlays, crowns and veneers in only one appointment. Worldwide, more than 30 million teeth have been produced with CEREC.
We wanted to share some of the great questions (and answers) we discussed that day for all you science-minded folks out there.
How do you design the new tooth on the computer?
Answer: The wand you'll see as part of the unit is call the Omnicam. It is actually a camera that records a streaming video to capture both 2D and 3D data. The data then produces a digital replica of a patient's dentition, accurate down to just a few microns.
Is this a 3D printing technology?
Answer: It is not. 3D printing is an additive process while the CEREC milling unit uses a subractive process. We start by putting in a full block of material. Then, two opposing diamond burs reduce the material to its final shape.
How long does it take to mill a tooth?
Answer: On average, about 12 minutes.
Why are the blocks purple?
Answer: Many of our restorations are milled from a material called Emax. The material, lithium disilicate (LS2), is the strongest, most durable porcelain available. The block appears purple in color throughout the milling process because they are in a slightly softer state. Once they are the correct shape for the restoration, they are baked in an oven at 900 degrees, allowing the material to crystallize. This turns the material to the final tooth color and hardens it.
These are just a few of the fun facts. If you're interested in learning more, call us to make an appointment and Dr. Kivel can show you how it works.