News 9MD: The making of new teeth

News 9MD: The making of new teeth

LOS ANGELES (Ivanhoe Newswire/WTVM) - It's the stuff of science fiction showing up in dental offices. Dentists and prosthodontists are using computers to make teeth, implants, and dentures.

The process is called computer-aided design and computer-aided manufacturing, or CAD CAM.

Irene Hasal has been through the wringer with her teeth. She had many procedures to fix problems and finally got implants. Within a month, her teeth were breaking.

Then, Dr. Mamaly Reshad, a prosthodontist at the Anacapa Dental Art Institute told her about CAD CAM. A computer scans the patient's mouth to make a custom image of what's needed.

"We put it inside the computer like a cartoon, an avatar, and from there, we create a tooth, a virtual tooth," Dr. Reshad said. "The virtual tooth becomes a real tooth through a manufacturing process."

A computer-aided milling machine makes teeth out of a block of ceramic or composite resin.

Dr. Reshad used CAD CAM for Hasal's whole procedure. It helped him to find the best placement for her implants, and to make a prosthesis.

Hasal's case was complicated and took almost a year. But CAD CAM can do one to two teeth in a morning.

"Now because it's going through this avatar, the computer, it can be done almost instantaneously; the same day. At least within two hours," Dr. Reshad explains.

It brought a perfect smile to Hasal's face.

"I can do anything I want now. They fit great, they're beautiful and my face is the proper shape," Hasal said. "So I couldn't be happier."

The CAD CAM process takes much less time than a conventional procedure, which can take weeks. Dr. Reshad says on average, it costs about 30 percent less and it is not typically covered by insurance.

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