Modern technology allows us to make great cosmetic dentistry even more convenient than ever. With the CEREC CAD/CAM system, we can make an all-ceramic dental crown or porcelain inlay for you during a single visit to our office–there’s no need for a temporary restoration and no need for a second visit.
But what about the quality of these restorations? Studies have shown that these crowns are as durable and attractive as lab-made dental crowns. And now a new study shows that they are even highly resistant to coffee stains, so much that people are unlikely to ever notice discoloration of these restorations.
We know that not everyone is familiar with CEREC technology, so we’re going to take a moment to explain. A CEREC restorations starts the same way as other dental restorations. First we’ll remove any decay or infection of your teeth. Then we’ll shape the tooth to receive the dental crown, inlay, or onlay. If you need a dental bridge, we’ll have to prepare two or more teeth to support it.
This is where things get different. Instead of having you bite down into a tray of goo to give us an impression of your teeth, we’ll use a digital scanner to capture a 3D image of your teeth. We’ll use that 3D image to design your dental restoration. Once the design is complete, we’ll select material that matches the color and quality you want for your restoration, and place a block of it in the diamond mill.
Then we send the design to the mill, which carves out the restoration. We can then polish it and maybe do some last-minute adjustments to the color to make sure that the match with your other teeth is perfect.
Studying Stain Resistance
Researchers wanted to find out how stain resistant these materials were to common causes of tooth discoloration. They chose to study coffee, because it has the ability to stain teeth and it’s one of the most common beverages consumed in the world.
They took discs of many different kinds of CEREC materials. They soaked these discs in coffee and measured discoloration after one day, one week, and one month of soaking. They then polished the discs to see if staining could be easily polished away. For comparison, they also soaked a disc of typical composite filling material (the most commonly used type of white filling).
They found that the regular composite filling became visibly discolored after a day of soaking. But no CEREC materials stained in one day of soaking. And some materials didn’t get stained until a month of soaking in coffee.
All CEREC materials polished up nicely. Many types of CEREC materials could be polished so they weren’t visibly stained even after a month of soaking in coffee.
The regular composite filling, though, was still badly discolored even after polishing.
What Does This Mean for You?
Now, obviously, you don’t just soak your teeth in coffee, so how do we translate the results of this study into your experience with drinking actual coffee?
When you drink a cup of coffee, the coffee is touching your teeth for a short time. Let’s assume that’s about 15 minutes of actual coffee exposure for each cup of coffee. That’s probably too high, but it’s a nice round number. Statistics show that the average American drinks 3.1 cups of coffee per day. Let’s round that to three and call it 45 minutes of actual tooth-coffee contact per day of coffee drinking. Using that estimate, a day of soaking in coffee is actually equal to 32 days of coffee drinking. Call it a month. That means that a week of soaking is the equivalent of 7 months of coffee drinking. And a month of soaking is equal to about two and a half years.
This study shows that CEREC fillings shouldn’t become visibly stained between your dental appointments. And if there is any staining, it will polish away easily so they can stay bright and beautiful for a lifetime.
Are You Tired of Stained Fillings?
We know how frustrating it can be if you have tooth-colored fillings that have stained. That’s why we’re happy to offer CEREC fillings and crowns that can resist staining.