CAD/CAM dentistry is a field of dentistry and prosthodontics using CAD/CAM (computer-aided design and computer-aided manufacturing) to improve the design and creation of dental restorations, especially dental prostheses, including crowns, crown lays, veneers, inlays and onlays, fixed bridges, dental implant restorations, dentures (removable or fixed), and orthodontic appliances.
CAD/CAM complements earlier technologies used for these purposes by any combination of increasing the speed of design and creation; increasing the convenience or simplicity of the design, creation, and insertion processes; and making possible restorations and appliances that otherwise would have been infeasible. Other goals include reducing unit cost and making affordable restorations and appliances that otherwise would have been prohibitively expensive. However, to date, chairside CAD/CAM often involves extra time on the part of the dentist, and the fee is often at least two times higher than for conventional restorative treatments using lab services. CAD/CAM is one of the highly competent dental lab technologies.
Like other CAD/CAM fields, CAD/CAM dentistry uses subtractive processes (such as CNC milling) and additive processes (such as 3D printing) to produce physical instances from 3D models.