42nd Dental Clinic implements new technology

MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. --

Since December 2016, the 42nd Medical Group’s Dental Flight has reduced the porcelain crown procedure from weeks to a one-day process.

The clinic has implemented Cerec CAD-CAM, a computer assisted design and milling program that has been successful in several other large Air Force dental offices.

The dentist numbs the area surrounding the patients tooth, then drills and smooths the area where the crown will be placed, as is common practice for normal crown placement. A small camera is then used to take multiple pictures and create a 3-D map of the prepped tooth and surrounding area to properly fit the crown.

“This process removes the hassle of impressions, which causes some patients to gag, as well as a possibility of a temporary crown falling off,” said Capt. Jacob Deniakos, a 42nd Medical Group general dentist.

Before implementing this technology, the previous dental crown process took three to five weeks, which included a tooth impression and temporary crown. The time saved to base personnel, along with better fitting crown, caused the Air Force Dental Corps rate the product ‘excellent’ for use in large-volume dental clinics.

“This process saves us follow-up time, because we don’t have to recement temporary crowns on or reschedule another appointment to get their permanent crown put on,” Maj. Matthew Moberg, chief of dental services on Maxwell. “This new procedure allows us to extend our patients’ time between dental clinic visits.”

Although this is a breakthrough for many patients, there are some crowns the program is not capable of creating.

“For different situations we have to look at different material that will suit the patient the best,” Deniakos said. “For instance, second molars would need a gold crown, and this particular unit can’t create a gold crown.”

The Maxwell dental clinic has included this technology on more than 50 dental crown cases so far this fiscal year.

For more information about this new service or future services contact the Dental Clinic at 334-953-7821.