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Dentistry Ohio

'Living' Article January 2011

Landen Living

January 2011

 

It was 1985, just two  years after I had graduated from dental school when Swiss dentist, inventor, professor Dr. Werner Mörmann acted on a vision that today, 25 years later has changed my professional life for the better. 

The early years of Dr. Mörmann’s journey were difficult.  He had to have wanted to throw in the towel on many occasions but he didn’t.  He remained haunted by the belief that he could develop a way in which to design and fabricate permanent dental crowns within a single visit at the dental office.   He called his system CEREC… CEramic REConstruction.

Some of you have never had a dental crown placed.  When teeth are compromised by cracks, fractures and/or extensive decay it can be impossible to reliably restore the tooth with simple filling materials.  A crown is a protective shell of restorative material made for and cemented to a tooth in order to provide proper structural protection.  Traditionally the crown process involves impression materials, the services of a remote dental laboratory and a two week wait before the crown ultimately is placed on the tooth. 

Dr.  Mörmann’s vision involved computer-aided design and computer-aided manufacturing (CAD/CAM) for the design and milling of ceramic crowns.  Conventional impression materials were replaced by a three-dimensional intra-oral camera intended to capture the details of the tooth/teeth that had been prepared for crown coverage.  A crown could be designed to fit the captured images and ultimately milled from a solid block of ceramic dental restorative material.  Across the past quarter century each of these CEREC components; the 3-D camera, the design software, and the milling unit saw multiple modifications and improvements. 

Twenty years ago a mention of CEREC among dental circles usually was met with an eye roll or a chuckle.  I can remember attending a continuing education course at which the instructor laughed openly about CEREC and spoke of how the crowns fit “like boots on a rooster”. 

It was April of last year when after long and careful consideration I joined the CEREC family.  It was a HUGE decision that would define how I practice dentistry for the remainder of my career.  Bringing CEREC to my office would involve significant financial commitment and a full-fledged embrace of a new restorative vision.  Today, nearly a year later, I can’t imagine turning back the clock and going without our CEREC system.  Today one of my new heroes is a stubborn Swiss pioneer, Dr. Werner Mörmann, who simply refused to compromise on his vision of what might be.  Today the crowns we are making for our patients look better, fit better and should last longer than the crowns I had been placing the first 26 years of my dental career.  I am a better dentist and our patients are receiving better quality work because of Dr. Mörmann’s faithfulness to a vision. 

Nothing like a good ‘faithful vision’ story to kick off the New Year! 

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