What Is CEREC? (And Why Does it Matter?)

What Is CEREC? (And Why Does it Matter?)

At our holistic dental practice in Encinitas, we use the latest and most technologically advanced equipment. Part of our advanced “tool set” is Sirona’s new CEREC AC unit (as well as the new milling unit). While that may just sound like a fancy way to increase prices, it’s actually much more (and in fact, this unit has allowed us to reduce some of our prices).

So what is CEREC? How can CEREC help you, the patient? Why should you choose a CEREC doctor? I’ll try to answer those questions and more, below.

CEREC stands for Ceramic Reconstruction and is a sophisticated system of designing and making high quality, metal-free dental restorations in one patient visit. Developed by Sirona, CEREC utilizes 3D photography and CAD/CAM technology to assist a dentist in designing a virtual restoration (onlay, inlay, crown, or bridge) without taking impressions and, when combined with a milling unit, is able to build the actual restoration while you are still in the chair.

The computer system and camera in the CEREC AC unit have been upgraded substantially from prior units, allowing even a new user to create near perfect restorations on a routine basis.

After being a “CEREC” doctor for almost a decade, I understand the value of what CEREC brings to a practice and a patient. That’s why we recently upgraded to the latest and greatest machine, the CEREC AC. This machine allows us to take digital impressions for restorations (no more gagging on impressions!) and make precise restorations that look excellent, fit perfectly, and last a long time — all out of biocompatible, metal-free materials and all in very little time (a typical crown appointment lasts less than 2 hours, and you don’t need to come back to finish the work… it’s all done in one visit).

By upgrading our CEREC machine, we are able to do same-day restorations on almost all procedures (you can have a complete crown done in under two hours, in one visit), including inlays, onlays, crowns, and even some bridges, often at a lower cost to you. Restorations look outstanding, last a long time, and are biocompatible and metal-free. Fewer visits and a lower cost… that’s a pretty good benefit!

If you have been told you need a new crown, inlay, onlay or bridge, you may be a CEREC candidate. If you have a cracked tooth, old failing restorations, or otherwise large damage on your teeth, you may be a CEREC candidate. If you are interested in replacing old metal restorations with biocompatible restorations, you might be a CEREC candidate. Essentially, any large restoration in your mouth may be a possible candidate for a CEREC restoration (this is NOT to say that just because you have an old crown, you need a new one… IF an old restoration needs replacing, CEREC may be a good option for you).

The cavity preparation is first photographed and stored as a three dimensional digital model and proprietary software is then used to approximate the restoration shape using biogeneric comparisons to surrounding teeth. The practitioner then refines that model using 3D CAD software. When the model is complete a milling machine carves the actual restoration out of a ceramic block using diamond head cutters under computer control. When complete, the restoration is bonded to the tooth using a resin. CEREC is an acronym for Chairside Economical Restoration of Esthetic Ceramics. (courtesy http://www.cerec.net/index.php/index.html/_/news/products/what-is-cerec-r2)

The system is manufactured by Sirona Dental Systems in Bensheim, Germany . 1980 Development of the CEREC method at the University of Zurich W. Mörmann, M. Brandestini). 1985 Treatment of the first patient with CEREC (University of Zurich, material: VITABLOCS Mark I). 1986 Siemens acquires the license to market and further develop the CEREC equipment. 1987 CEREC 1 is introduced (chief indication: single and dual-surface inlays; material: VITABLOCS Mark II). 1990 International CEREC Symposium at the University of Zurich. 1991 Hydraulic machining drive replaced by an electronically controlled motor. 1994 CEREC 2 is introduced (range of indications: inlays, onlays, veneers). 1996 CAD/CAM Symposium to mark a decade of CEREC (University of Zurich). 1997 Sirona was formed as the result of the sale of the Dental Division of Siemens AG. 1997 CROWN 1.0 program for producing full-ceramic posterior crowns. 1998 Second material manufacturer partnership is formed (lvoclar, ProCAD). 1998 CROWN 1.11 program for producing posterior and anterior restorations. 2000 CEREC 3 is introduced (compact Windows-based CAD/CAM system). 2000 Third material manufacturer partnership is formed (3M Paradigm MZ100). 2002 More than 2,500 CEREC users in the United States and over 5,000,000 CEREC restorations placed worldwide. 2003 3D software version is released, allowing users to see 3D views of teeth and models. 2006 CEREC Celebrates 20 Years. 2006 Sirona releases BIOGENERIC version of software. This software allows for the machine to accurately reconstruct the missing tooth shape and surface. 2007 More than 23,000 CEREC users world wide. 2008 Sirona release the MCXL milling unit, this milling unit can produce a crown in 4 mins. 2009 Sirona release CEREC Acquisition Center (AC) powered by Bluecam (courtesy http://www.cerec.net/index.php/index.html/_/news/products/what-is-cerec-r2)

CAD/CAM dentistry such as CEREC is the future of dentistry. Utilizing modern technology, a dentist can produce an accurate, safe, biocompatible dental crown, inlay, onlay, or bridge, in just one visit. Technological advances make the system easier to use, more accurate (so you get a better fit right away, which means great comfort and fewer adjustments later), and faster (saving you time in the chair). More dentists are turning to this new technology. Some are new to the system. Others (like us) have been using it for years. While it isn’t perfect (some adjustments will need to be made, and you still need to spend a good amount of time at the dentist), anything that saves you time and money while increasing quality and comfort is a good thing for both the patient AND the dentist.

ABOUT: Dr. Marvin is a licensed dentist in California with more than 10 years of experience using CEREC technology. As a holistic, natural dental practice, The Center for Natural Dentistry is proud to offer CEREC services to patients who are seeking high quality, biocompatible crowns, onlays, inlays, and bridges in just one visit. To schedule an appointment or for more information, please contact us at 888-825-5351 or by completing the form at http://naturaldentistry.us/contact-us/



  1. […] one day. Your dentist will take a picture of your teeth using a 3D camera, uploading the image to a CEREC machine in the clinic. The machine will make a crown from porcelain in the same colour as your […]

  2. […] What is CEREC (and why does it matter)? – The Center … – ABOUT: Dr. Marvin is a licensed dentist in California with more than 10 years of experience using CEREC technology. As a holistic, natural dental practice, The … […]

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  4. Katherine Says: January 3, 2013 at 3:36 am

    Hi please can I ask, does cerec release fluoride?

  5. Thanks for the reply, good to know there are options.
    When someone has their first appointment with you (for checkup and x rays) can you adjust the bite in the same visit?

    • Hi Steve, we can adjust the bite in the initial appointment, but we normally won’t do that unless it has been recommended by your chiropractor or if you’d had a chiropractic adjustment before your appointment with us. If you think you need your bite adjusted, give us a call and we can go over the options with you.

  6. Hi Dr. Marv,

    How good are the Cerec Crowns for large molars in someone who grinds his teeth? Thanks

    • Depends on the material you use. CEREC is just the computer. Our milling unit can mill out restorations from all types of materials. If you’re a really heavy bruxer, we may want to use a lab and make something out of zirconia. However, if you brux that hard, you probably need your bite adjusted, which could solve a whole lot of other problems and allow you to use a softer crown material.

      • Dear Dr Marvin

        Which crown bonding adhesives are most biocompatible please and preferably do not contain fluoride? It’s regarding a crown for a damaged LR 6 tooth.
        thanks & best Roy

        • martina hagues Says: July 8, 2019 at 7:23 pm

          after spending alot (in today’s language more than $25,000) on replacing my amalgams about 15 years ago (including a few years later a crown by another dentist costing about $2,000), i’ve now been told the sealant/glue has rotted under the fillings and they all need to be replaced – no doubt losing most of the teeth as it is the 3rd or more filling. Teeth only seem to take 2 or 3 fillings at the most. because i live the most organic and natural lifestyle in the western world of anyone i have ever met (eg grow and make all my own food from scratch without chemicals or the use of drugs including making all my own charcoal filters for my rainwater and medicines for my rescued animals and myself – this being mainly charcoal) i’m am devastated to learn this. already i’ve had 3 of the teeth out only to find the foot is very healthy condition but the tooth inside decayed to the max. the aluminium oxide in the fillings is obviously leaching into my body and mind (i’m also very aware about what is going on in my body etc having done a daily yoga (iyengah for 20 years and astanga for 10 years). this shows on my hair tissue mineral analyses. several of the ceramic fillings are more toxic and cyto toxic than amalgams. my body doesn’t absorb mercury very easily and some of my old amalgams were in those teeth for over 35 years. so one has to state (as i always do when considering manmade newer products) science/new technology is usually not as lasting (check out you father’s car from the 60s or any building materials from that era. the houses in australia don’t last 100 or 500 years!) and science loves to use chemicals. so until we get a natural 100% product such as PORCELAIN, we are not going to be healthy little vegemites and we are all going to lose our teeth by 30 years if we eat a supermarket diet and our mums (like mine) gave me dessert after every meal!

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