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Finding the Best CAD/CAM Materials

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Q&A
What’s the benefit of having so many different materials for CAD/CAM blocks, such as zirconia, lithium silicates, resins, etc.?
Q&A
I think CAD/CAM dentistry should provide the dentist similar material blocks that are available to the lab. Today, a dentist who does not use CAD/CAM makes different selections depending on the indication that they’re placing in the restoration. CAD/CAM should be no different, so the decision of which material to use should be driven by the individual patient situation and not limited, necessarily, by a narrow material choice that one system provides. I think the key to clinical success with any restoration is that the dentist needs to understand the material properties when selecting the CAD/CAM material of choice for their clinical situation.
Q&A
Choosing the right CAD/CAM block material can be overwhelming, especially to clinicians who are new to CAD/CAM. What features should they look out for?
Q&A
Selecting the right material to meet the needs of the restoration are critical. I think a good guideline to follow is to first break it down by materials, by category—resins, glass, high-strength ceramics, and zirconia. When you understand those 4 “buckets,” the next questions to be asked are: What’s the clinical indication that I’m trying to meet, and what am I trying to deliver to the patient? Resin is ideal for a partial coverage; glass is ideal for a single unit in a region where you want to deliver high esthetics, such as an interior region; high-strength ceramic is ideal when needing to deliver esthetic restorations with multiple units; and then zirconia is a go-to material for posterior single units, as well as multiunit and abutment restorations for implants.
Q&A
Are materials that replicate natural tooth structure the way of the future for CAD/CAM blocks?
Q&A
Again, it comes down to creating the ultimate restoration, which would mean you couldn’t tell the difference between a natural tooth and the restoration beside it. It’s all about a balance of strength and esthetics, and the composition of material depending on the area of the mouth. I think if protocol is followed and time is taken with the right material, you can create that natural-looking restoration right beside a natural tooth and not be able to tell the difference.

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