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Dental milling is a method of fabricating prosthetics made of various materials by using computer-aided design and computer-aided manufacturing (CAD/CAM) technology. The process involves translating a digital 3D model of a dental restoration into a physical object through a milling machine. This technology offers a practical and time-efficient alternative to traditional fabrication methods, which involve the use of messy and time-consuming plaster molds. In this article, we will explore what dental milling is, its benefits, and its various applications.
What are the different types of dental milling?
There are two types of dental milling: chairside and laboratory milling. In chairside milling, the restoration is fabricated inside the dental office where the patient is being treated. The process involves taking digital impressions of the patient's teeth, which are then sent to the milling machine. The milling machine then fabricates the actual restoration while the patient waits.
Laboratory milling, on the other hand, involves sending the digital impressions to an off-site dental laboratory. Here, a technician uses specialized software to design the restoration according to the dentist's specifications. The design is then sent to the milling machine, which creates the actual restoration. The finished restoration is then sent back to the dental office for placement.
What are the benefits of dental milling?
Dental milling offers numerous benefits, including:
Accuracy: With dental milling, the prosthetic is fabricated according to precise digital measurements. This ensures an accurate fit and reduces the need for adjustments.
Speed: Dental milling is a fast process that can be completed in hours rather than days.
Cost: By eliminating the need for messy molds, dental milling reduces material and labor costs.
Versatility: Dental milling is capable of producing prosthetics from a wide range of materials, including zirconia, titanium, and other metals.
What are the applications of dental milling?
Dental milling has various applications in dentistry, including:
Crowns and bridges: Dental milling is commonly used to create crowns and bridges, which are prosthetic devices used to restore damaged or missing teeth.
Implants: Dental milling can produce custom implants that perfectly match the patient's existing teeth. This ensures a seamless and natural-looking replacement tooth.
Inlays and onlays: Dental milling can fabricate inlays and onlays, which are custom-made fillings designed to repair damage to the tooth's biting surface.
Orthodontics: Dental milling is used to create clear aligners and retainers, which are used to straighten teeth and maintain their position after orthodontic treatment.
Dental milling is a valuable development in dental technology that offers numerous benefits, including speed, accuracy, and cost-effectiveness. It has various applications in dentistry, including the creation of crowns, bridges, implants, inlays, and orthodontic devices. As technology advances, dental milling is sure to become an even more critical tool in dental care.
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