The pros and cons of owning a Cerec

2008 10 21 14 53 23 614 Helaine Smith Thumb

Editor's note: Helaine Smith's column, The Mouth Physician, appears regularly on the advice and opinion page, Second Opinion.

January marks two years of my ownership of a Cerec machine. It has been the biggest clinical learning curve in my career. The challenge of having restorations be as perfect as I would want them continues, but is welcomed. It always seems there is one aspect of the restoration that I am not completely pleased with. This is due to my need to learn the system better.

Regardless, I am pleased that I invested in the CAD/CAM technology. My practice population lends itself to many onlays and Empress restorations, and it makes sense to offer a "one visit" service. I am now able to complete almost all restorations in 90 minutes and hope to reduce that by 15 minutes when possible. I have found the process becoming less stressful and more enjoyable. There is great satisfaction in being able to provide this service to my patients.

The Cerec sales team uses high-pressure tactics, and it seems to work for them. The technology is exciting and inviting and easily gets you engaged. Still, I advise all doctors to carefully think about this expensive purchase before you commit. Perhaps you can take a course beforehand and work on a friend or family member in a nearby Cerec practice to see if you want to incorporate this into your practice.

I have learned that what works in one part of the country does not always work in other parts. Dental offices that offer Cerec often boast that their business has increased significantly due to the buzz generated by being a Cerec doctor. I have found that not to be the case in the Boston area. This purchase must be made for the right reasons, and believing that this is going to pave your practice in gold is not the correct reason. You need to stop and be realistic, and not be sucked into the sales pitch. There are no get-rich-quick purchases, despite what anyone tells you.

I have the luxury whereby if I feel the Cerec restoration was not the best option, I would not use it. The potential for substandard care with Cerec is high, in my opinion. How many times can you mill a restoration that does not fit well before you cement one that is not as perfect as a laboratory fabricated one? How big of a marginal gap is acceptable? These ethical questions arise often.

Embracing new technology is a must in order to offer the best care to your patients. It is up to you to decide how far you want to go and which of the many areas you want to invest and excel in.

Practicing dentistry today demands that we be open to new ideas and paradigm shifts. Also, it is important not to let our education stand in the way of learning. It is the most important aspect of being a mouth physician.

The comments and observations expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the opinions of, nor should they be construed as an endorsement or admonishment of any particular idea, vendor, or organization.

Copyright © 2009

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