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What is CAD/CAM and how does it work?

This technology is relatively new in the dental market, first emerging about 20 years ago. CAD/CAM is an acronym that stands for computer-aided design and computer-aided manufacturing. Not specific to the dentistry field, this technology has been used for decades to produce other goods such as tools and cars. Since it is used for designing and manufacturing, this technology can use an image to produce a 3D replica of a conventional impression. The next step is to create a design from the captured image and send the design to an office machine for manufacturing – think 3D printer! The last step, of course, is to bond the in-office designed crown to the actual tooth. What makes this method special is that once the image has been scanned, the CAD software can analyze the patient’s unique dental morphology and surrounding dentition to produce a perfect fit.

If your dentist has this technology in-house, it dramatically reduces the amount of time spent at the dentist that would normally take at least two visits. This means you have more time to do the things that are important to you. If you are in need of just a single crown restoration, this can be done in a single visit. The technology of CAD/CAM allows for the imaging, designing, and manufacturing to be done in-house.

What Are Its Uses?

The manufacturing component of this technology uses ceramic, hybrid ceramic, and resin-based materials to create the following:


dental crowns


dental onlays


dental inlays


dental inlay


1) Time Saver:

  • If your dentist has this technology in the office, your restoration process can be analyzed and performed in one visit rather than sending out the impression to a laboratory and waiting for results, saving you the time and hassle of multiple visits.


2) Higher Quality:

  • Manufactured restorations are fired in an oven to increase strength, reducing the risk of fractures. This process is similar to ceramics and pottery.
  • This technology reduces error in design and manufacturing such as gaps between teeth, which could increase risk of infection and disease.


3) Education for Patients:

  • Using the intraoral camera to perform the imaging opens the door for educational opportunities for your patients. This could be particularly helpful for children and adolescents.


4) More Comfortable for Patiens

  • A 3D intraoral imaging method can mean no traditional impression techniques. These can be cumbersome and uncomfortable for patients as it requires the whole tooth’s surface to be recorded using powders, impression materials, and gum retraction cords rather than a painless imaging camera.
  • We have partnered with Digital Dental Leaders

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Our friendly and knowledgeable staff at Ontario is committed to meeting your needs as a patient with comprehensive care using advanced, proven technology.