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Welcome to Digital Dentistry

Welcome to CAD/CAM Computer Aided Design & Computer Aided Manufacturing

At Wing Dental in Peace River, Dr. Winston Wing and his team embrace technology. The use of CAD/CAM is just one example.

What is CAD/CAM?

CAD/CAM stands for Computer Aided Design and Computer Aided Manufacturing. Basically, it’s software dental professionals use to perform complex restorations in-house.

Behind the Scenes of a procedure using CAD/CAM

“First we identify what needs to be done, so we can prepare the tooth,” said Dr. Wing. “We freeze the site and trim the tooth down.”

Next, a member of the team uses the wand from their Dentsply Sirona Primescan machine to scan the patient’s mouth.

With the initial scans complete, Wing Dental’s CAD/CAM Manager Shelby Hankins steps in to assist.

“I check to ensure all important areas are captured clearly. Then, I send them to our lab software, inLab SW, to start the restoration design,” said Hankins.

Using the software, Hankins digitally removes any excess tissue captured in the scan and outlines the prep area, so the restoration is seamless once fabricated.

“Then, the software will auto-generate a restoration based on an algorithm. I customize the size and shape to ensure it fits with the adjacent teeth. I adjust any areas that could cause an issue with the bite and make sure everything is nice and smooth,” said Hankins.

With the restoration design complete, Hankins sends the file to their sister software, inLab CAM SW, for the milling process.

“To start the milling process I find the block or disc that matches the material and shade as dictated by the dentist, and I lock it into the MCX5 milling machine. I make the appropriate selections in the software and carefully position it, ensuring everything is as it should be.

Then, I press start, and the software communicates with the MCX5 to mill the restoration,” said Hankins.

With the milling complete, Hankins removes the restoration from the block and gently polishes it and uses compressed air to clean it.

“Next, I place the restoration inside the inFire HTC Speed to sinter for seven hours for zirconia. Other materials are put through a crystallization cycle in the software,” said Hankins.

After the sintering is complete, Hankins allows the materials to cool as they can reach temperatures upwards of 1,500 degrees Celsius.

“I polish it again, so it’s smooth and shines when the light reflects off it,” said Hankins. “Then, I sandblast the interior surface using 50 micron aluminum oxide powder, which helps the cement adhere better when permanently placing it on the tooth.

Lastly, the restoration is test fit in the patient’s mouth before cementing. Once the dentist approves it, the restoration is steamed to make sure it is perfectly clean.

“We invest in technology, a great team and thorough training,” said Dr. Wing. “For us, it makes all the difference.”


Photo 1: Dr. Bryan Lim, Dr. Winston Wing and Dr. Grace Bellerose

Photos 2 & 3: Dentists with the Dentsply Sirona PrimeScan Photos 4 & 5: Software screen grab and MCX5 Milling Machine Photo 6: CAD/CAM Manager Shelby Hankins

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