Are Robots the Future of Porcelain Crown Fabrication?
Porcelain crowns are one of the most sought-after procedures in cosmetic dentistry. Crowns restore and protect your chipped, cracked, and badly decayed teeth to prevent further damage or the risk of infection. These durable fixtures look like your natural teeth, making them virtually undetectable. Some people do not like the wait time between their first visit and the creation of their new crown. Fortunately, new technologies may increase the speed of crown creation without compromising quality. A dental lab in California has introduced the possibility of an old sci-fi favorite stepping into dentistry: robots.
Robots Increase Dental Crown Production
Glidewell Laboratories in California started using collaborative robots to streamline the process of creating dental crowns. Previously, the machine that creates dental crowns required an operator to insert a tray of 15 crown impressions before processing. The machine would then create all 15 crowns, and wait for the next tray. Sometimes, the machine sat idle for extended periods before receiving the next tray. The downtime significantly reduced the number of crowns that the lab could produce.
To solve this problem, the lab brought in UR5 robots from Universal Robots to operate the fabrication equipment. The UR5 robot picks up a blank crown from a dispenser to insert into the machine. A built-in vision camera allows it to check the color of the blank and match it to the desired color for that crown. Once the new crown is finished, the UR5 robot removes it and starts on the next one.
The robots have increased the efficiency of the lab by freeing up staff members for other tasks. Additionally, the robots decreased the time spent making crowns from 28 hours to 17 simply by eliminating the wait-time between trays.
Potential for the Future
Although you probably won’t find yourself in the chair with a robot dentist performing your next cleaning, robotics do offer a lot of potential for dentistry. Robotics could increase the accuracy, speed, and quality care of dentistry in the future. Even freeing up the time of lab professionals can help improve the efficiency of dental work by allowing professionals to create more restorations in a short period of time than they could previously. If other labs in future find success using robots, the time spent waiting for porcelain crowns could decrease significantly.
Quality Over Quantity
Perhaps someday, robots will be standard in dental labs in order to decrease fabrication time. Any advances in technology such as the UR5 robots require a trial period before becoming common use. They need to prove that they improve efficiency in labs without lowering the quality of the restorations produced. Each of the crowns that the UR5 robots help create will be placed in someone’s mouth. Every detail, from color to shape matters so that your new crowns match the rest of your teeth. You should not put your dental work on hold while we wait to see the effect of these robots.
At Park Meadows Dental care, we understand that details matter. After taking an impression of your damaged tooth for your future crown, Dr. Berry will carefully note the color and opacity of the surrounding teeth so that your crown looks natural. Next, the impression and color data go to a trusted dental lab, which carefully crafts your crown to Dr. Berry’s specifications. Your new durable crown will look and feel like a natural part of your smile.
If you have a damaged tooth and would like to learn more about the benefits of porcelain dental crowns, please call 303-759-5652 today to schedule an appointment with a Denver cosmetic dentist at Park Meadows Dental Care.