Advances in digital dentistry are benefiting doctors at more than 100 practices in Ocean and Monmouth Counties and patients who need to be fitted for crowns and bridges.

Digital dentistry/photo courtesy of Christie Sistad CAD/CAM Specialist in Toms River

Christie Sistad, CAD/CAM Specialist at Henry Schein Dental in Toms River, explained a magic wand, or digital camera, is placed inside the patient's mouth to photograph the tooth and create a Three-Dimensional model that can be viewed on a computer screen.

She pointed out one advantage of being able to have a digital impression means the patient no longer has to walk around with a spare part in their mouth for two weeks.

"Having a digital impression eliminates a lot of human error, where there's a process where you can get some voids and bubbles with that process," said Sistad. She added it enables the Dentist to provide the patient with the most accurate and precise restoration possible.

Busy patients also save time by no longer needing a repeat visit to have the crown fitted.

"To be able to do everything in one day, it saves that burden of having them to take off of work in a couple of weeks again to come back in for that final fitting," Sistad said.

Digital Dentistry can save doctors money in the long run too, Sistad pointed out.

"Doing same day dentistry, it ends up paying for the machine itself, if you can dedicated about 15 to 18 restorations on it a month," she said.

Materials for the dental procedure presented challenges with insurance companies in the past, but because digital impression technology has actually been around for about three decades, Sistad noted that it is covered.

Sistad explained out when the technology was first introduced, the beginning stages were cumbersome and the final restoration wasn't as seamless as it is now.

"A decade ago, let's say, the restorations were coming out and needing some modification by the clinician chair side, so that was really a big deterrent, and also the materials back then weren't as strong as they are today, so they were seeing some post-operative fractures that were happening," said Sistad.

Crowns can range from $1,000 to $1,500 depending on specialty and materials being used, according to Sistad.

Sistad said the digital impression also is healthier for the tooth than the traditional two week process, which involves temporary material that doesn't have a permanent seal, exposing it to bacteria and seepage.


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