How to invest in cad-cam digital dentistry.

Sep 21, 2020 | software

Digital dentistry is advancing rapidly, so integrating it into your practice is an excellent decision. However, the common assumption is that it requires a very large investment in both time and money. In this post I explain how you can gradually integrate a CAD CAM system into your dental practice.

In principle, it is essential to understand the basic concept behind CAD CAM in dentistry, today it is called in many ways, Digital Dentistry, Virtual Dentistry, 3D Dentistry and a long etcetera, but they all refer to the same thing.

Page contents

Introduction to digital dentistry. What is dental CAD CAM?

The term CAD/CAM comes from the English acronym Computer Aided Design (CAD) – Computer Aided manufacturing (CAM) and refers to all manufacturing processes that are designed and directed by computers.

CAD Cam in dentistry presents several alternatives, both for design and manufacturing.

The digital flow is a process that has several phases, which can be divided as follows:

  • Obtaining the records
  • Computer design
  • Manufacturing process.

¿How dental cad cam works?

The first step to a digital flow is to obtain patient information in a digital medium. Currently virtually any record can be converted to a digital form. Among the most common systems we have:

  • Digital Photography
  • Cone Beam Computed Axial Tomography
  • Magnetic resonance
  • Ultrasound
  • Digital dental impression
  • Photogrammetry
  • Digital mandibular dynamics
Tomografía de haz cónico en una tablet

Although all of this data can add great value to a patient's diagnosis and treatment plan, during the computer design phase the most essential will be digital dental models, tomography and photographs.

A combination of these records will allow us to obtain composite models that represent a patient's anatomy in a fairly precise and reliable way.

What equipment to buy

So what investment is relevant for a CAD CAM flow?

For a start The essential element is a digital dental model. However, many times it is not necessary to invest in a scanner if we are just starting out.

A viable option is outsource this process and request digital models of the patient from a study center along with x-rays or tomography scans as the case may be.

A second option is to take analog prints and send them to be digitized in a company dedicated to this. Many times it is not even necessary to empty the print since scanners are capable of obtaining the negative record and converting it into a digital model.

Escáner Dental intraoral

In the event that you want to purchase a scanner you will have to choose between an option intraoral or a tabletop scanner. In general terms, the first option It is advisable when the volume of work is relatively low, that is, if you are going to take less than 10 records up to date as in the case of a private consultation.

If he volume is greater, it will surely be necessary to obtain more than one scanner, or failing that a tabletop scanner, so I recommend the second option for a laboratory or a study center.

If you want to obtain an analysis of the scanners available on the market, write to me at and I will send you this document. You can also get it within Our course

Computer design of a cad cam system

The second stage is the design, for this we will need a cad cam software specific that allows the manipulation of these digital media.

There are countless options on the market for dental cad cam software, but in general terms we can have a closed option (Designed around products from a certain brand or company) or open (no compatibility restrictions)

Closed Cad Cam Software

The great advantage of using this type of programs is that they simplify things a lot, that is, they create an interface that facilitates all processes so that the user only has to follow several steps and obtain a finished design.

However, this same feature can limit the options a little to the professional since you must pigeonhole your designs into what the company has established, or find a way to evade the restriction with tricks or tricks around the software.

Other disadvantage is cost. Normally these types of programs are very expensive and often have annual fees for updates or subscriptions. This forces the user to stay committed to this company at the risk of losing their data or the progress they have made in said software.

Open Cad Cam Software

An open software grants all freedom and responsibility to the user, it also allows you to import and export files between different computers since it normally uses universal formats such as STL either DICOM.

These programs are not necessarily created for digital dentistry, so they usually have many tools and several of them are not applicable to our field. This comes back quite difficult to learn to handle them and can represent a barrier to their integration.

An intermediate point

Módulo de guías quirúrgicas de Blender for Dental
Guide designer – Blender for dental

There is a third alternative, which takes the best of both parties.

Is about Blender for Dental which is created on free software Blender, but with automated tools that facilitate its application in the dental area.

Because it is an extension of free software, it is extremely economical and does not require annual payments or export costs.

Computer manufacturing of a cad cam system

He last step In dental CAD CAM it is obtaining the physical element that was designed.

This can be achieved by various methods such as 3D printing, milling, laser sintering, stereolithography, laminating, etc.

In this case The investment can range from a few hundred dollars to tens of thousands. The price of this equipment varies depending on the volume of parts they can produce and the technology they use.

In the dental area, milling machines have been occupying an important position in the area of oral rehabilitation, but 3D printing has shown enormous potential to obtain designs in multiple materials.

Furthermore, with the expiration of several patents Today there are a large number of companies that manufacture printers at a very affordable price.

Escaner intraoral

Final tips

To start a digital flow, some investment is necessary. However, both records such as manufacturing can be delegated to a competent company. Therefore the most important investment to integrate a CAD CAM system is in the design phase.

For a clinician, it is of great value to be able to decide and modify the design based on their criteria, experience and diagnosis. Also, if this process is not extremely long, you can do it for each patient.

Know the software for digital design It allows you to expand the limits of dentistry and obtain more precise and personalized results.

If you liked this post, leave us your comments or questions, we also invite you to review more of our content:
How to make dental aligners with BlenderSplint designer from Blender for Dentaldental cad cam software


  1. Jose

    Hello Juan, thank you very much, I had never had anything happen to me. I'm very happy. My email is I don't know what it takes to enter the course, when you can, give me the instructions, thanks again and greetings

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