People who have had to go to the dentist for a crown or other restorative dental work, know it can be a hassle.
The process for dentists usually involves making a mold then, wearing a temporary before finally getting a permanent weeks later.
Some dentists around the Kansas City metro are using 3D technology to make it possible for patients to get the same result in a single visit.
“Essentially it’s subtractive CAD/CAM. The machine actually takes a block of material and then it carves away the tooth surface. So, for the most part it’s 3D printing," Dr. William Busch at North Kansas City Dental said.
Richard Chapman went to North Kansas City Dental two years ago for veneers on all of his upper teeth.
“They grinded them all down, put caps on all of them. What was nice about it was it was a one day procedure," he said.
While scanning technology has been around for years, the use of a 3D scanner is relatively new.
Some dentists around the Metro are using 3D technology to make it possible for patients to get the same result in a single visit.
Dr. Tucker VanYperen explains the process after taking pictures of a patient’s mouth.
“I can design the crown on the software. Then we’ll use our milling unit to mill a crown itself, out of a block of porcelain.”
After 15 minutes in the milling machine, the crown is ready for some final filing and buffing, a finishing glaze and several minutes in the oven before cementing on.
Total process is about an hour and a half.
While milling machines have also been around for decades, Busch says only about 12 percent of dentists in the Metro perform single day dentistry.
"When it's done in the office, everybody saves. So the dental office saves for not having to put you back into a dental chair two weeks later. The patient saves because they don't have to leave work," he said.
Busch adds that the patients are getting a material that they know is manufactured here in the office and so they know what’s being put in their mouths.
“And in fact, the dental labs are using this technology in their own lab to make crowns. So the old way of using four or five people to make one crown,it can all be made by one technician which again, saves money for the doctor and the patient," he said.
The cost for the actual dental work will depend on insurance coverage with the real savings coming in the way of time and fuel.
This technology also works for partials, implant crowns and bridge work.
Jane Monreal can be reached at JANE.MONREAL@KSHB.com.