CEREC May Not Be Effective Dental Marketing

Cerec & dental marketingDentists are split over whether CEREC is an effective dental marketing tool. In this survey, 58% of dentists said the name “Cerec” means nothing to the average dental patient.

But among dentists offering Cerec restorations, 61% think it’s a useful dental marketing tool. And only 15% of Cerec dentists report they are disappointed with it.

Don’t know what CEREC is? The name stands for Chairside Economical Restoration of Esthetic Ceramics. Cerec dentists use computer-assisted technology to fabricate a customized porcelain restoration, often a dental crown. You can get a Cerec restoration in a single appointment, while traditional porcelain crowns are fabricated by dental labs and require two appointments.
Learn more here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CEREC

Here’s what dentists have to say about CEREC:

  • “The idea is great, but the restorations are not close to the quality of lab-fabricated restorations.” (Tennessee dentist)
  • “It has been the best investment I have made in my practice.” (General dentist)
  • “It only means something to the average patient if you call it ‘same day crown.’” (Minnesota dentist)
  • “Cerec is the greatest invention in the history of dentistry. Those who don’t like it are either not willing to take the time to learn it or haven’t bought it and need an excuse as to why.” (Illinois dentist)
  • “I am glad I got the Cerec, but there were times along the way I would have gladly given it back if I could have got a full refund. It definitely is where the future is going, so we need to master this technology.” (California dentist)
  • “I’ve replaced many fractured Cerec restorations that come into my practice.” (General dentist)
  • “The best economic investment we ever made in our practice. It has allowed our practice to experience an 8% growth in 2009 while the majority of the practices in our state experienced a 30 to 40% decline.” (Michigan dentist)
  • “Puts you in the special list of dentists that are on top of the newest, the best and ahead of the crowd.” (Pennsylvania prosthodontist)
  • “Powder all the teeth and then the patient swallows and all the powder is gone and then you re-powder and they swallow and all the powder is gone…repeat ad infinitum until you get tired of it and throw your ($100,000) machine away.” (California dentist)
  • “The smartest thing I have EVER done in my career is to purchase (and master) a CEREC machine. The restorations are more precise, beautiful, and predictable than any lab… I get tons of referrals because I have one; it just continually blows my mind that more dentists have not clued into this. NO WAY would I practice without it.” (General dentist)
  • “We’ve had Cerec for 1 1/2 years are are now pretty satisfied. But the learning curve was LONG and I’m still learning.” (New Mexico dentist)
  • “Initially I was disappointed with CEREC due to a steep learning curve, technical shortcomings and disruption to our normal scheduling routine. But now I must admit that with experience and the latest camera and software upgrades I love it, and I’m getting restorations that are often better than my lab. Patients really appreciate single visit dentistry and they are fascinated by the technology. It has reduced my lab bills significantly which more than offsets the cost of the machine.” (General dentist)
  • “I do not think Cerec has the name recognition of Invisalign or Lumineers or Zoom tooth whitening, and therefore I think the name means nothing to the public at large.” (General dentist)
  • “Few people know (or can remember) what a ‘CEREC’ is. Quite frankly, because it is a stupid acronym! Almost all people understand what a single visit crown is! If a company wishes to capture the market for this, then provide a moniker to do so.” (Nevada dentist)

Read more: Cerec Dentists Split over its Dental Marketing Value

About Julie Frey

+Julie Frey is the Editor of TheWealthyDentist.com blog. She has dedicated her career to Internet marketing and communications, working side-by-side with dental marketing guru Jim Du Molin since 2006. She has a degree in Linguistics from Stanford University, has a passion for language and writing, and lives in San Francisco.

  • http://www.delanydentalcare.com Ira L Shapira

    I have been using CEREC technology for over 20 years. I started with CEREC 1 and was so busy Imy office needed two of them. We skipped CEREC 2but the Cerec 3D is phenomenal.

    They are incredible inlays and onlays and some crowns. The learning curve is stepp but we have done millions of dollars in CEREC restorations with no lab fees.

    There has been some breakage, but it is almost always bad prep design and those problems are eliminated. It does not replace lab crowns completely but over 80% of single unit restorations are done better by CEREC than by a lab. That may change as labs embrace new technology, ie CEREC in-lab, intero etc.

    The real profit is in clean slick ceramic inlays and onlays that are ultraconservative and last forever instead of composite fillings. Tyhe dollars per hour are substantially increased. CEREC is not an inexpensive alternative to lab ceramics but . NO RECURRENT DECAY When very experienced single visit with no cementation is enormous scheduling advantage and patients love it.

    Less profitable per hour when doing multiple 3-8 in a single visit.

    Long term problem is patients do not need replacement dental work so you need new patients in your practice

    Crowns are not the reason to get a cerec but they can do beautiful crowns. Small inlays and onlays are where it excellls bot in quality and profitability.

  • Tom Nabors

    Ira Shapiro hit the nail on the head. I cut down way less tooth structure now. More inlays and onlays than crowns. I have been doing them for 11 years now and see them on recall and they look great. When one cusp is broken with an existing occlusal filling, no need to cut the whole tooth down for a crown, simply replace the filling and the cusp. The gingiva likes it better too.
    You can go as far as you want with CEREC. I have seen beautiful veneers placed with CEREC. Lots of work, but can be done. The bread and butter is inlays and onlays. Much better restorations than composite fillings, once they get any size to them.

  • Tom Nabors

    Ira- sorry about the typo. Shapira.

  • http://sdsedationdentist.com Doug Decker DDS

    If all you have is a hammer… everything looks like a nail. I see a lot of restorations that would be fine with a $200-300 composite filling but instead the previous DDS tried to sell a $900-1100 CEREC inlay/onlay. Gotta make the payments on the machine! Also, saw a DDS in Carlsbad,CA trying to sell a CEREC crown to a 75 yr old pt. for tooth #32 because she had a small OL chip on an old all ceramic crown. I repaired it with a composite and it is fine. However, in the hands of a skilled, ethical dentist who has the volume to support it, its a good system.

  • http://www.thevisibledentist.com/ The Visible Dentist

    We updated the website of Dr. Stephen Buehler to include his new CEREC 3. Last I spoke with him he was doing several crowns a month with it and all is well.

    Pretty good placement in the SERPS too.

    John Barremore
    Houston, TX

  • Ruth Garratt

    Had to laugh… 58% of patients do not know what a CEREC is…. and 100% of hygienists GROAN OUT LOUD when they see one.

    I have seen so many crummy margins, left-over cement, and general tissue inflammation surrouding CEREC restorations that it’s ridiculous. I even had one today in my chair… impeccable hygiene, zero bleeding generalized, EXCEPT around the distal of the molar where the CEREC onlay margin was against the tissue. Patients complain about them too. They say “something still doesn’t feel right with that crown….” and invariably the dentist tells them “it’s just taking some time to settle in”.

  • Tom Nabors

    The problems you are reporting are not problems with the CEREC. It is the operator. We all see ill-fitting crowns from laboratories. Would you then say all crowns are bad restorations? My hygienist love the CEREC restorations I place, they have several in their mouths. The learning curve is huge, it was the hardest thing I have incorporated into my practice. CEREC, like any other part of dentistry, is no better than the operator, or no worse than the operator.

  • http://www.dentistdownthelane.com Michael Conrad

    I’ve been using the Cerec 3D for almost seven years. Yes, there was a learning curve, but we do a lot of them each month, more than enough to “make the payments”. Actually, the first machine was paid off a while ago, and we upgraded to the Blue-Cam version last summer. Better and faster images with less powder, overall a wonderful upgrade. As I tell my patients, each one I do I consider a little miracle. They fit so well, look so nice, and, as I have found especially when we replace an old PFM, the gingival response is terrific. For most crowns and onlays we try to keep the prep supragingival, but even when that isn’t possible, the tissue loves the Cerec restoration. But it may be, in fact, operator specific. My associate wanted to throw it against the wall early on, and now she can’t imagine practicing without it. A wonderful technology, but you have to be willing to commit to it, get comfortable with it, and become an expert.

  • Ira Biderman DS

    I have to agree with Dr. Decker, the majority of people using Cerec is using it so they can charge the patient more. Instead of a small direct composite, why are they telling the patient they need a more expensive restoration. I know the next statement may bring up some difficulties with other dentists, but I feel the Reader’s Digest article from a few years back was very honest. There are too many dentists out there literally ripping off people. Just look at some of the dental magazines, when you see a before picture where maybe the only thing that was needed was some recountouring and some bonding, the dentist placed 10 upper and 10 lower veneers and to make it worse so many of these articles show youung people getting that treatment where for the rest of their life they will need to have it done a few times. I know the answers to this is that cerec is a better restoration, it can wow the patient, etc. but be honest if it was your mouth and you had a small class 2 cavity,would you want to pay 3 times the amount to have a cerec placed? and let us all be very honest,, as the saying goes treat people like you would like to be treated yourself. The same also goes for dentists that want to place sealants on adults and charge for fluoride treatments. Don’t you think that an adult tooth already has almost the max fluoride intake and a one minute application is not going to be that much beneficial at all, after all there is fluoride in toothpaste, mouthwash and most water supplies(except if person drinks bottled water). Just another way to charge more.

  • Larry M Ford

    No user has admitted that anterior esthetics comparable to a lab fabricated stacked porcelain restoration reguire at least custom staining and glazing in a porcelain oven. Unless you’re willing to cut back and stack the addition, the stain will eventually wear away to the base material shade. Plus you’re performing lab procedures instead of delivering dentistry. How can this be time/cost effective? All the hype about one appointment crowns that are the justification for the $purchase$ neglect these shortcomings. When a Cerec crown becomes the best that we can deliver for our patients-I’ll be interested.

  • http://SanRamonDentalCare Karl J. Muzikar, DDS

    I am a graduate of UCSF and practice 5 days a week for 25+ years. I am in the camp of Dr.Biderman and (Dr.?) Ford above. I would like to hear it from anyone who has a CEREC machine whether this is the restoration that they would choose in their own mouth if they needed a small filling. I would also like to know whether the would choose CEREC if they needed implant restored, a bridge or multiple crowns at one visit. If you were going to place multiple anterior veneers (for esthetics), would CEREC be your choice? Patients must pay for this machine (one way or another). When the dentist tries to eliminate the lab bill by using a CEREC, the compromise may be in the esthetics. I have examined many CEREC restorations in the mouth and I rarely find one that is not obvious. The bigger they are, the easier they are to detect because (the ones that I see) do not look like natural teeth. As an aside, I have NEVER in 25 years ever had a patient ask to have a crown done in one sitting. This is something that CEREC dreamed up as a marketing ploy. Imagine if a patient only needs a filling and I was to tell them I could give them a filling in one visit, but if they want to I could charge them a lot more and grind out a CEREC on my ($100,000) machine and bond it to place all in one visit. What would you do for Jesus Christ if he was sitting in your chair?

  • Bruce Thomas, DDS

    I believe that the past few dentists have gone a bit off track with their personal dislikes of a certain type of dentist (person). In all fields there will be people who try to rationalize their ripping others off for their own gain. That is also clearly evident in certain dentists as well. The fact is that CEREC is a very viable mode of treatment in many cases. I find that I use my CEREC machine for a large percentage of my crown cases. I have done some multiple unit cases and even a couple of anterior cases I have taken training and can see how an untrained dentist could really make a mess of these. It is very easy to make a CEREC crown not attractive or inadequate in may areas. The trick is learning (also caring) to do it well. The cases of which were recently spoken are cases of dentists apparently having the wrong motive, poor skills, or both. Like anything, we as highly skilled providers must learn and keep up with our profession if we are to provide the best. By the way, I had a crown done on myself by my local prosthdontist and made my crown on my machine several years ago using a “blue block” and it is great.

  • Dr. Lou Siegelman

    I really like the Cerec for the one visit completed procedures, as a dentist anesthesiologist. I agree it’s a very hard, long learning curve. I would like it in my own mouth if it could be done as well as I’ve learned to do them. I have seen some crummy ones from other offices. I plan on commiting to Blue cam this week and I wanted the groups opinion on the value of the upgrade?
    Thanks

  • Henry Grady

    I was considering purchasing a Cerec because I do more than enough crowns per month to justify the cost. I so appreciate reading the views of Drs. Biderman, Ford and Muzikar. I agree with their philosophies. I am proficient in direct composites, and do not want to spend my time designing and staining average looking crowns. I will hold off for now.

  • SarahW

    I’m a patient. FWIW I have searched for cerec practitioners and currently travel from Richmond VA to Charlotteville to a practice, specifically for cerec restorations.

    I have cerec crowns, an inlay, and one “crown” where a cusp and filling were replaced, sparing much tooth structure.

    I got a crummy cerec once (twice really) in Richmond, and learned the difference a skilled operator makes. ..and found the most interested and experienced Cerec dentist I could to replace that one.

    The Richmond dentist made one crown in the shape of my broken tooth, with a missing cusp. I couldn’t quite understand why he would do that, but he agreed to a new crown with a restored shape. I didn’t like the changes he made to the height of the tooth, the cusp was “stuck on” and cut my tongue and the gliding contacts were all off and caused pain and a need for a great deal of adjustment. That crown popped off all on its own and i got a REAL cerec dentist to replace it with a brilliant crown that has lasted years with never a moments trouble. That dentist made all my other cerec restorations.

    I wish more local dentists would incorporate it into their practice. I

  • Macron Dental Lab

    Hi after using cerec in lab for many years i see the + on this machine. For the lab is another story temps,zircon,emax onlay inlay ,veneers ,wax copings and bridges up to 10 units ,zir implants abutments ,you are the limit.Only the skill ones can really step in this grounds ,ineos scanner make a huge difference in the scanning proces.Volumen is a must in order of see the profit and for last only the new cerec mc xl i can only see as the true cerec in lab.

  • Jonathan Devens

    Patient here…also a business owner- CEREC strikes me as a win for CEREC and a win for the dentist. Not so sure I see the win for the patient.
    When I hear statements such as “steep learning curve”, I get concerned. Woe be the patients who are at the begining of that curve, huh?
    I just had my 3rd or 4th CEREC crack (same tooth) and I went to another dentist (old school) and he removed it and put in a gold crown. Excuse the layman terms, but it’s the tooth on the bottom, left side, all the way in the back. The new dentist said that’s not a great place for a CEREC as that’s where all your muscles are- he wasn’t surprised they kept breaking.
    All that said- the impression I get from reading all these posts is that I think I have more of a dentist issue than a CEREC issue. I was never impressed with the people doing the CEREC in my dentists office- always bumbling around, always having issues with one thing or another…. not confidence inspiring at all.

  • Jonathan Devens

    I suppose what I should have added is that CEREC in the hands of operators who aren’t experienced enough, or who don’t care enough can create poor results. And, from many posts here- that seems to not be uncommon.
    I still wonder about the patient pluses, though. “One visit”? That’s a minimal benefit.
    When I ponder CEREC vs other methods, I’m still not clear on the ultimate benefits. NASA spent millions in the 60′s developing a pen that would write upside-down in space. The Russians used a pencil.

  • Bob Heller

    I’m a patient who had his 3rd CEREC crown done yesterday. In my experience, CEREC crowns are superior to the traditional porcelain-over-metal crowns, which I’ve had break or come off, several after a relatively short time. Some observation, suggestions, and opinions:

    CEREC needs to be advertised more. I found out about this technology about 4 years ago by web-surfing and spent quite a bit more time selecting my current dentist. He is a member of the CEREC users group and is a ‘whiz’ at the operation of this system but even he does not advertise. From what I’ve seen he doesn’t have to! Had I known about CEREC technology 10 or 15 years ago I would have made the switch then, but I didn’t know “1-visit-crowns” even existed.

    From what I’ve seen, the dentist operating the CEREC system needs to be of a more “high-tech” mindset. If the dentist is not into new or newer technology he/she isn’t going to be as successful as they can be. Some people just don’t do well with “technology” and it is these people who will not do well with CEREC.

    The ability to do a crown on my #3 tooth (which was mostly one big filling and was cracking apart) in well under 3 hours and in one visit is a key selling point. In the past, with traditional methods, the temporary filling would invariably fall out and I would have to buy Dentemp to glue it back in. Waiting the 2 weeks until my crown came in from the lab was uncomfortable, to say the least. I’ve done it too many times!

    As for the ‘fit’ I still have 1 lab-made crown in my mouth that never fit properly from day 1 (big gap on 1 side) while the 3 CEREC crowns my current dentist made over the past 4 years fit perfectly. Even the one installed yesterday is perfect, my tongue cannot detect the difference between that CEREC and the natural teeth on either side of it. Maybe next year I will have that crown replaced with a CEREC, that is, if the crown doesn’t pop off unexpectedly in the mean time.

    Another benefit to a CEREC crown is the ability of an XRay to ‘see’ through it. The traditional crown looks like a big white blob on an XRay and there is no way to see if there is any decay under it until things are really bad. I found this out the hard way because one of my old crowns did this and my old dentist couldn’t pinpoint which tooth the bad taste and smell was coming from. When that porcelain/metal crown started moving around in my mouth it was obvious where the problem was. By then it was a REAL problem — had this been a CEREC an XRay would have found it much sooner.

    Anyway, to dentists that want to make CEREC a profitable part of their practice: 1. Get proper training and become proficient at the operation of the CEREC system. 2. Advertise “1-visit-crowns” or “crowns-made-while-you-wait”.

    Just my opinion!

  • Dogchick

    I had 4 Cerec crowns put on my molars and in less than a year, 3 of the bulbous misfit crowns have broken in half the 4th impacts food and it fell out! They are not durable for back teeth!! Dentists that like them prefer to take your money themselves, rather than having to pay a lab fee. buyer beware if you move and have another dentist, neither insurance or the new dentist will cover your cerec product… Try getting ahold of the company… Even worse!!!

  • Cmdmd

    CEREC crowns have a very specific design guideline. Ask your dentist to show you his design and the “height of fissure” that number must be greater than 1.35mm.  

  • Cmdmd

    ALl of you must have gone to dentists that are seriously lacking skill with the technique. There is a CEREC material that can withstand ANY biting force. I use them on clenchers and people that have a history of breaking crowns. So, the gold crown, still unnecessary. The “old school dentist” knows “old school dentistry” which is as good as a hand-crank starter in a car.
    I use EMax blocks for “back” teeth that have little clearance (space to fit a crown) and I have had ZERO fractures on any of my CEREC crowns. The CEREC crown is superior to “Stacked porcelain” crowns (porcelain is added in portions, thus creating many interfaces) because they are made with pressed porcelain from a solid block.
    RIght now, I do 100% of my crowns with that technique and machine and my patients do not miss temporaries and impressions at all.

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