Porcelain Veneer Prep: Robots vs. Cosmetic Dentists

In order to place porcelain veneers, a small amount of tooth material must be removed, typically between 0.5 and 0.8 mm (about 1/50th-1/30th of an inch). This is a very challenging procedure, and one of the reasons why it’s important to take care when choosing your cosmetic dentist.

A cosmetic dentist needs a steady hand to be able to prepare teeth precisely for porcelain veneers, and not all dentists are equally talented at this challenging procedure. Failure to properly prepare the tooth could lead to poor aesthetics, fragile veneers, poor bonding, and other complications. Because of this challenge, some researchers are trying to automate the system, using a robotic arm to prepare the tooth for porcelain veneers.

Robots Not Better Than Clinicians

Fotolia_86659546_Subscription_Monthly_MTo determine if a robot could prepare teeth for porcelain veneers as well as a dentist, 20 models of maxillary (upper) incisors (the teeth that show up most in smiles and tend to be brighter) were divided into two groups. Ten were given to the robot to prepare and ten were given to a clinician to prepare. At the end, the two groups were compared.

Statistically, the two groups were essentially identical. Surprisingly, the human-prepared samples had less deviation in their depths than the robot-prepared ones. The human was also more precise in creating the depth of preparation. The robot, on the other hand, did a better job of crafting the line that defines the edge of the veneer.

We Can’t Replace the Talent of Cosmetic Dentist

This experiment shows that although they may seem like they’re ideally suited to the task, robots are not yet better than dentists at preparing teeth for receiving porcelain veneers. And that’s just one of the more mundane parts of the porcelain veneer procedure.

Although scanners can be used to determine the shape of the teeth, and the veneers can be designed on a computer, it still requires the aesthetic sense and talent of a dentist to design veneers that look good and function properly. Studies have shown that there’s no algorithm for attractive smiles, so, for the foreseeable future, there will be no way to replace the cosmetic dentist.

If you are interested in porcelain veneers in Beverly Hills, please call  for an appointment with a cosmetic dentist at the office of Dr. Nicolas A. Ravon.

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