The Tooth Bot


 

I’m not the best dental patient.  I wake up anxious the day of the visit, tense the moment I walk into the office, and have a tendency to gag throughout any procedure. So I never thought I would be describing a visit to get a dental crown as an entertaining experience.

I’ve had a broken molar for some time but have been putting it off due to memories of the first time I needed this procedure. You know how it goes – needles, grinding, a mouth full of putty while they make an impression (gagging), the temporary cap that falls out before the follow up visit, and then a second visit to fit the final crown (more gagging).  Only Bill Murray would willingly go through this procedure.

Anyway, technology has found an answer to all this.  I found Dr. Fink at Delaware Dentistry who, for about 10 years, has been practicing digital dentistry and providing a dental crown in just one visit! Even with the grinding and what not I was in and out of the office in under two hours with the final crown in place. This guy knows his stuff!

The entertaining part was watching the crown design and creation process.  Being a bit of a geek, I got a real kick out of the CAD/CAM process that involved an image of the space where the new crown would go, the design of a tooth to fit that space, and the manufacture of the crown on this neat little dental lathe in about 20 minutes.  All of this accompanied by a blow-by-blow explanation of the process by the good doctor. The picture above is the ‘tooth bot’ that created my new tooth.

All this is possible because the crown is ceramic (yes I have a glass tooth!).  There is a slightly greater chance of fracture with ceramics, but all the research I’ve read suggest this crown will last as long as I do.  I should also mention that my regular dental visit with these folks was the most gentle tooth cleaning I’ve had in ages.  Anyway, I can honestly say I’m no longer anxious about my next visit to the dentist.

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