Principal dentist, Manju Kumar, talks about how CEREC® has become the centrepiece of her practice providing same-day restorations and doing away with the inconvenience of taking wet impressions.
I have been working in general dentistry for 25 years, finally becoming the owner of my own practice, Stratford Dental in Stratford-upon-Avon, eight years ago. Along with buying the practice, I also inherited a CEREC® machine, which to be honest was a little bit of a surprise. I had no idea about digital dentistry, but with a CEREC in the corner I felt I had no choice but to learn all I could about the process and teach myself how to use the system and I’m glad I did.
The simple guide to CEREC
Put simply – CEREC is computer-aided CAD/CAM design. You look at the tooth, you scan the tooth, you design the restoration and then mill a ‘jigsaw’ piece that fits immaculately and the patient leaves the practice happy. It is great technology. If a patient presents with a broken tooth and has not got the time to come back, they want it replaced there and then, so for these patients CEREC is the best. I have to say the intraoral camera is excellent and so much better than it used to be. The latest Omnicam intraoral scanner is fantastic and is very easy to use.
Initially, I did not use my laboratory at all for CEREC restorations, I just milled and fitted them myself. Now we have taken the next tentative step forward and gone online with our lab. This means, I can take a digital scan and send it straight to my technician who checks the scan, informs me immediately if there are any imperfections and then produces whatever type of restoration I require – finishing, staining and glazing as only a technician can. Although I use my CEREC every day, I personally choose not to do anterior restorations with it. I scan the anterior preps and my technician does the porcelain work.
I can control the contact points, the bite and the aesthetics with CEREC. As far as I am concerned, it is a very conservative procedure enabling me to keep the majority of enamel and work around it, and for me, this is a big deal. There are so many different options to repair a broken tooth and I can do it in an hour, or if I am having a really good day – just 45 minutes.
Another great thing about digital technology is that it logs every stage of the treatment process. So, if a patient breaks a restoration for whatever reason, you can go back into the system’s library and, as long as nothing has changed, it can be re-milled there and then.
One is never enough
The only problem I have with CEREC is that I only have one at the practice and with three dentists all wanting to use it, it can be a bit of a fight. We just have to be very careful about ensuring we manage the booking of our restorative appointments in the most efficient way. Yes, CEREC is an expensive initial outlay, but when I work out the number of restorations I have done with it over the past two and a half years it has paid for itself at least one and a half times over – probably more.
Everyone at the practice loves CEREC. The advantages it brings are speed, the fit, which is amazing, the margins are beautiful and no wet impressions are needed, which our nurses are particularly grateful for. Our patients are happy because they have been treated using some amazing technology and after only a short wait their restoration is ready and fitted and they can head off home or go back to work. In terms of patient satisfaction I really cannot ask for anything better than that.
Henry Schein ConnectDental, Henry Schein’s platform for digital dentistry, combines a wide choice of digital technology solutions with all the knowledge, service and support needed to help practitioners navigate the rapidly changing world of digital dentistry. For more information, visit www.hsdconnectdental.co.uk.
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Manju Kumar BDS MFGDP(UK)
Manju joined Stratford Dental as a partner in 2010 and now is the Practice Principal and owner. Since graduating from Newcastle University in 1992, Manju has enjoyed a very successful career in general dental practice, also gaining her surgical skills through a position she held in the Oral Surgery Department at Birmingham Dental Hospital. In 2003 Manju was awarded her MFGDP by the Royal College of Surgeons in London and was then accredited as a Vocational Trainer in General Practice. She has undergone postgraduate training in advanced restorative dentistry and enjoys all aspects of dental care.