CEREC: Computer-Assisted Design and Computer-Assisted Milling (CAD/CAM) Technology


Chairside Economical Restorations of Esthetic Ceramic (CEREC®) is made up of computer-assisted design (CAD) tools and a milling machine that gives dentists the ability to create custom-made ceramic restoratives in little time.

The CEREC procedure was developed at Zurich University and has been successfully used in dentistry for over 30 years. Long term clinical studies have shown that, in terms of durability, CEREC restorations are equivalent to gold restorations. 

In the past, patients would have endured many procedures, and a lot of lag time in between those, to restore damaged teeth with crowns, onlays, inlays or dental veneers. With CEREC, patients do not have to wait because CEREC has the ability to make ceramic restorations in minutes. This means that some procedures will restore your teeth in only one visit.

What is the CEREC® system?

CEREC uses computer design and a milling device to create custom-made restorations.

Below you will find information on the three major components of the CEREC system:

  • Acquisition device – This device uses a high-resolution camera and a medical grade computer. The unit scans the prepared tooth in seconds, eliminating the need for unpleasant silicone impressions. The device creates a three-dimensional model of the tooth. The dentist uses that model to design your custom-made restoration.
  • Three-dimensional CAD software – This provides the dentist with the ability to look at the modeled tooth from every angle. Using this technology, the dentist comes as close as possible to examining the tooth in his/her hands while rotating it on the screen.
  • Milling device – This unit makes the custom restoration based on the specifications from the computer. Your dentist chooses a ceramic block that provides the closest match to your existing tooth color. That block is then placed into the unit. After a few minutes, the milling device produces the restoration designed by your dentist.

Benefits of CEREC:

  • No Impressions The highly accurate 3D measuring scanner can scan a tooth in seconds. It has been proven to produce more accurate details of a prepared tooth than conventional silicon impressions.
  • No Temporaries CEREC restorations are milled out of a solid ceramic blocks in minutes. They are ready to be placed immediately, eliminating the need for temporary fillings or crowns. You only need one appointment and do not have to wait for days on end until the restoration is made in a lab.
  • Metal-Free Dentistry CEREC is able to mill from ceramic blocks, glass resin blocks, and zirconia blocks. These allow different metal-free materials to be used as determined by the need of strength in the restoration. All CEREC materials are biocompatible.
  • Highly Aesthetic CEREC restorations are made to color chairside so they can be customized to each individual's coloring.
  • Less Discomfort CEREC restorations are performed in one appointment, eliminating the need for multiple injections throughout multiple visits.