Advanced Technology Services

CEREC (Cad/Cam) TECHNOLOGY: Cerec (Cad/Cam) Technology

What is CEREC®? Chairside Economical Restorations of Esthetic Ceramic or CEREC® for short is a  state-of-the-art method of reconstructing tooth restorations. CEREC® uses computer-assisted design (CAD) and computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) to offer single-day restorations for patients. This new technology has revolutionized ceramic restorations such as crowns and veneers for patients so that there is no longer a wait between preparing the restoration and finally receiving the finished product. With CEREC®, the technology is used while you are sitting in the dental chair, which is both economical for you and your dentist. The restorations created are metal-free and tooth colored to restore your tooth to its natural beauty, strength, and function. With CEREC®’s CAD-CAM technology, these ceramic restorations can all be done in one single visit to the dentist.

Above left is a CEREC® restoration and above right old silver mercury fillings.


The CEREC® Process
CEREC® uses CAD-CAM technology to design and mill custom restorations during one visit to the dentist. So how does this process work?

Exam and Preparation
Before you get started, your dentist will determine if CEREC® is right for you. Depending on how much healthy tooth structure you have remaining, it may be a simple filling or you may need a crown. After reviewing your options, the dentist will begin the process by administering anesthetic and preparing your tooth for restoration by removing decay and weakened tooth tissue.

Optical Impression
In order to make the desired restoration, a 3-dimensional image of the tooth that needs to be restored must be created from a digital camera scan of the tooth. This three-dimensional image will be used to create the restoration without the need to take a messy impression. This means no horrible tasting impression material for you to gag on. The computer and CEREC® 3D software then convert the digital image into a three-dimensional virtual model of the prepared tooth.

Milling Unit
This device is used to create the custom restoration needed for the tooth. Based on the original color of your tooth, the dentist is able to select the correct colored ceramic block and in a few minutes, the milling device is able to create the restoration needed.

Placing the Restoration
After the restoration is made, it is ready to be tried on to ensure that you get proper fit and bite. When it is ready, the restoration is polished and bonded into place by your dentist. Therefore, no temporary restoration is needed and no return trip is necessary, saving you time and money.


Advantages of Using CEREC®
CEREC® has revolutionized the restorative process. It was created with the patient in mind in order to make a visit to the dentist as pain-free as possible. Some of the benefits to using CEREC® are:

  • Most procedures can be done in one visit – less costly and less time-consuming
  • Less painful injections due to single-visit
  • No need to take messy impressions
  • No need to have a temporary restoration for in-between visits
  • Ability to save as much natural tooth structure as possible
  • Longer lasting restorations – may last over 10 years
  • Restores teeth to natural beauty, function, and strength
  • Metal-free restorations


Digital X-Ray Imaging
Richards Dental Care has utilized digital x-rays since 2001, is one of the first practices in Henderson County to embrace this technology. One of the tremendous advantages of digital x-rays is the 80% reduction in exposure to radiation. In addition, these digital images can be emailed to specialist offices or insurance companies, instead of using snail mail. 

A major breakthrough in dental imaging is the introduction of 3D (or CBCT) dental x-ray images. Dr. Richards added this technology in 2017 and it provides more predictable diagnoses and treatment options. These images are easily understood and provide better communication with patients and other medical providers.

Intra Oral Photography: Every treatment area at Richards Dental Care utilizes a small Intra-oral camera that makes color photographs of your teeth and other structures in your mouth. This small camera just a few millimeters long allows you and your dentist to view clear and precise images of individual teeth. These photos are invaluable in making an accurate diagnosis of dental decay, cracked teeth and locating soft tissue diseases of the mouth.

In addition, Dr. Richards uses Canon Photography technology with a special lens to enable him to evaluate different sections of your teeth, how they fit together and function.

Laser Dentistry

We are fortunate to be one of the few offices in western North Carolina which use a dental laser for many procedures. This type of laser can be used in place of a drill in many small cavities. It also has uses in gum disease and root canal treatments, often reducing the need for referral to a specialist. Lasers are minimally invasive, typically require shorter healing times and help in reducing anxiety in the dental office.