October 20, 2010
by Allan G. Farman, BDS, PhD, MBA, DSc; William C. Scarfe, BDS,MS,FRACDS; and Michiel van Genuchten, PhD
While dentistry of the future will likely include interventions such as biologic scaffolding and tissue regeneration, dentistry of the present and near future will continue to be based on the orthodontic movement of teeth and the prosthetic reconstruction and restoration of damaged and missing teeth. The digital era for implant- and tooth-supported prosthetics based on computer-aided design and computer-aided manufacturing (CAD/CAM) has matured in the past two decades, mostly due to the market-driven development of various generations of visible light impressions. Prior to these developments, clinicians relied on physicochemical impressions and stone models on which to fabricate indirect restorations. Chairside CAD/CAM restoration fabrication, while now mainstream, is still employed by the minority of clinicians. Most certainly, CAD/CAM will grow rapidly at chairside or will be provided by centralized milling laboratories. Similarly, digital data transfer of impressions directly from the mouth and virtual modeling are increasingly being used for planning and executing orthodontic tooth movements.
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