CEREC stands for Ceramic (CE) Reconstruction (REC). The process uses Computer Aided Design (CAD) and Computer Aided Manufacture (CAM) to produce an extremely high quality ceramic restoration in a single visit.
CEREC is a superior quality ceramic filling, constructed by the dentist in the practice. A ceramic filling is ideal in situations where teeth have been heavily filled in the past or have had a large amount of decay removed so that the remaining tooth structure has been extensively weakened and therefore more prone to fracture. A ceramic filling is superior to the composite style restorations (“white” fillings) in these situations and also achieves a better cosmetic result.
CEREC ceramic is an ideal material to re-support and stabilise teeth due to its strength, its ability to be bonded to the tooth and that it has similar biocompatible properties as the remaining tooth structure. Biocompatible refers to the fact that the properties like expansion and contraction with temperature changes are very similar to the tooth structure, unlike other restorative materials. What this limits is the effect which you see with water in rocks, when it freezes it expands and cracks the rock, because the materials are not biocompatible. Bonding is literally like “glueing” the ceramic to the remaining tooth structure. The ceramic and tooth almost become like one strong unit.
CERECs can also be ideal in areas where it has been recommended that a tooth be crowned. This process is less traumatic to the nerve of the tooth and less of the tooth structure needs be removed. There are, however, some situations where a Porcelain or Gold crown is more suitable. The CEREC ceramic lasts as long as a crown if used appropriately.