What are ceramic restorations?
Ceramic restorations are a fairly new class of dental prostheses. In the past, large dental fillings were restored with mercury-containing amalgam, or weaker plastic fillings of composite resin or glass ionomer cements. Ceramic restorations, especially CAD-CAM ones, are strong, and can fit better and last longer than traditional restorations.
What can ceramic restorations be used for?
They can be used for large dental fillings (inlays and onlays) or to protect the whole tooth with a crown. They can also be used for aesthetic restorations such as veneers.
What is CAD-CAM?
CAD-CAM stands for Computerised Assisted Design - Computer Assisted Manufacturing. In dentistry, we can scan a tooth or a dental impression, and using the computer, design a restoration outside of the mouth that has a similar contour and size to the original tooth. The computer will then manufacture the restoration precisely to fit the tooth exactly. The restoration will then be cemented in the patient's mouth.
What is zirconia?
Zirconia, or zirconium dioxide, is an extremely hard crystalline ceramic. Strong and durable, it can reliably be used for posterior crowns and bridges. However, it is often opaque and solid in colour; for better aesthetics, it can be veneered over with a more aesthetic translucent porcelain.