The evolution of dental treatment in Clínica Gil Costa Rica.
In this increasingly digital age, we’re experiencing exponential growth in all technical fields, and dentistry is no exception. The incorporation of digital technology is evolving the way we work with teeth on a regular basis.
At Clínica Gil, we are pleased to introduce you to CAD / CAM technology, which uses digital design (CAD) and manufacturing of dental restoration pieces through the use of high precision milling machines (CAM). These tools are available in our clinics in San Pedro and Escazú.
Price of restorations using dental CAD / CAM
Using our own CAD / CAM technology to produce new dental pieces means Clínica Gil has more control and customization over the end-product. However, the price for our Escazú and San Pedro customers is the same as the traditional, less-customized methods. So you get all the benefits (explained below) at no extra cost.
The materials used by these systems include zirconium, lithium disilicate (porcelain), and composite (resin). Pieces made of metal (such as titanium) can also be milled for dental implant restoration.
We only use the most up-to-date versions of these materials for optimal durability and resistance.
The first step in manufacturing any dental restoration is to obtain a mold of the mouth. Traditionally, this was achieved by taking an impression with a special, putty-filled mouthguard that would then harden to produce a mold of the teeth:
However, today we use a digital scanner, which allows us to precisely copy your teeth and convert them into a three-dimensional digital image. No more gooey mouthguard required!
Digital design – CAD
Once your mouth is scanned, the image is sent to the Digital Dental Laboratory, along with specific details about your teeth such as color, particularities of tooth shape, and any other relevant notes. These details will help our doctor decide which type of material should be used to create your dental restoration. (For example, there are different types of zirconium used in molars: one supports more chewing forth; another is for cosmetic purposes.)
Once in the laboratory, the crown (or other restoration piece) is digitally designed and made specifically for the patient’s mouth.
Restoration manufacturing – CAM
Once designed and reviewed by the Prosthodontist, the piece is manufactured using a CAD / CAM process. Special milling machines do most of the work, using extremely precise tools and data to create the perfect fit.
When the milling machines finish their work, the customization process continues—this time with a human touch. Our technician will check for any quality issues, and once cleared, will add the “restoration makeup”, so that the piece appears as similar as possible to the rest of the patient’s teeth.
Once the laboratory finishes the restoration, the patient is brought back to the Clinic to have the new piece installed.
First, the temporary restoration is removed and the application site is cleaned. The permanent restoration is then inserted into the mouth and set in place, after which a color- and shape-verification process is completed. The dentist will also ensure that the contact points and the bite are checked and adjusted. Finally, the piece is polished at the points where adjustments were made and the restoration is cemented.
When cementing, the tooth must be clean and free of moisture for proper adhesion to occur. In addition, the specialist must verify the correct placement of the crown, inlays, or other prostheses.
Equipment used in the process:
At the Gil Clinic in San Pedro or Escazú
- Intraoral scanner
- Scanning software
In the Digital Laboratory
- 3D printer for model manufacturing
- High-precision digital milling machine for metals, zirconium, or composite
- Software for design and milling
Advantages of digital impressions and dental CAD / CAM
- More comfort for the patient in the impression-taking process: The traditional method of taking the tooth impression with putty is uncomfortable and imprecise (you often have to repeat the process if it does not work the first time—sometimes immediately or sometimes during a totally separate visit to the Clinic).
With the CAD dental scanner, the specialist can see the image on the computer screen and instantly ensure an adequate image of the mouth, in a comfortable and precise way.
- Fewer appointments and less waiting time during treatment: When you scan the mouth digitally, you can send the impression to the laboratory immediately, which means they can start the manufacturing process that same day.
- Greater precision in taking measurements
- High esthetic level for the materials used
- A more precise fit to the teeth, which guarantees greater functionality and durability
- Reduced production times: CAM technology has eliminated some steps from the conventional manufacturing process, such as waxing, coating and casting.