This morning I reported to my dentist at 8:00 a.m. to have a crown done. They use a CEREC system, and I was amazed by the technology.
They shot me up with Novocaine, got rid of the old filling and ground down the disintegrating part of the molar. Then they use an IR imager to get a 3D image of the tooth that remains, and match—in beautifully animated 3D—the crown that will be milled to the base that remains, using the tooth outline against a database of about 500 3D teeth to get one that looks natural. (See the video above. It’s jaw-dropping.)
The dentist then can adjust this using a mouse and 3D view. They pick a tint that matches the rest of your teeth, throw a block of dental material in a tiny, computerized milling machine, and in 11 to 22 minutes, the crown is done.
This gets molecularly bonded (rather than just cemented) to the original tooth surface, and voila—essentially a new tooth, in less time than it takes the Novocaine to wear off.
I was out and on my way again at 9:20.