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Rogue Valley Maker Faire Recap


Rogue Valley Maker Faire Recap

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. 



Crowns vs. Partial Crowns (Onlays)


Crowns vs. Partial Crowns (Onlays)

Last week, we got Dr. Kivel to sit down and give us his thoughts on a common dental question, "Should I get a crown or an onlay?". Here, he explains the differences and what factors may influence your decision. Take it away, Dr. Kivel!


So you've got a tooth with a fracture or decay that requires something larger and stronger than a filling.  Maybe the term “crown” sounds familiar or is something you’ve had performed in the past.  But now you are being given the choice of doing a partial crown or what is often called an onlay.  How do you decide?

In the past, when a patient had a big structural problem with a tooth it meant that the dentist was likely going to shape the tooth to resemble an upside down paper cup to then glue on a strong restoration that would replace the shaved down “crown” of the tooth.  This unfortunate sacrifice of healthy tooth structure was required to give the “crown” something to hold onto.  The crown also tended to go all the way to the gumline, often causing irritation and sometimes resulting in recession.  Lastly, by shaving the tooth down, there was always the risk of aggravating the nerve inside of the tooth, maybe even causing a root canal.  A crown is still an excellent choice, and maybe the only choice in circumstances where most or all of the tooth needs to be replaced.

Modern materials and adhesives have given us dentists the ability to focus on replacing just the part of the tooth that is experiencing a problem with a partial crown, often termed an onlay.  In other words, we don’t have to shape a tooth into a little nub to put a large crown over it.  Instead, a replacement piece is fabricated out of an ultra strong material and is then “bonded” to the tooth.  It is a fairly technical procedure, but with experience, great isolation technique (no saliva!) and preferably with same-day CAD/CAM capabilities (using a computer to make crowns in the dentist's own office), it is a common approach and good alternative to a conventional crown.  The uncommon, but possible, drawback is that a partial crown may be more vulnerable to fracture or breaking off.  But with all the healthy tooth structure of the tooth saved, it merely needs to be replaced.

Crowns and partial crowns cost the same in most offices.  They are also usually made of the same material, the most popular being the tooth colored and incredibly strong “emax”.

Choosing between a crown and onlay can come down to answering the following question.  

What is more important to you:

1.  having a restoration that has a stronger likelihood of lasting longer (crown), or

2.  having a restoration that is as minimally invasive, tooth-conserving as possible (partial crown/onlay)?

When asked what I would do if I were faced with the choice of a partial crown/onlay or full coverage crown, I would choose a partial crown/onlay every time.

I hope this blog helped you decide between a crown and an partial crown/onlay.  If you have any questions, please reach out to us or stop in!  

Thanks for your interest,