The Most Underutilized Feature in CEREC

CEREC can be so many things.  The possibilities and capabilities are endless these days.  But at the end of the day it is important to keep in mind the 90%.

By 90% I am referring to what 90% of CEREC owner do regularly and the procedure that makes up 90% of what is done.  THAT IS THE SINGLE UNIT POSTERIOR CROWN.

How do I define ideal results?  For me it is simple – I want a restoration that seats without any adjustment, but yet still in occlusion.  It’s easy to make something adjustment free – just take it out of occlusion.  But that’s not good dentistry.  So we need something that seats quick and easy, that’s in occlusion, but doesn’t require lots of adjustments.


So how do we achieve this?  The answer is easy – utilize the most underutilized feature of the software – ARTICULATION.

Now many may disagree with me that articulation should be used on every case.  But please let me make my case.

The word articulation and/or articulator makes my eyes drop into the back of my head and gives me nightmares.  But the art of grinding in occlusion and the frustration of this is even worse.  So let’s just avoid it.

Here’s a great example of how articulation saved me time and made my life easier.

Here is my initial proposal.  As you can see it looks quite nice from the occlusal view and has minimal colors that would suggest a restoration that would need adjustment after seating.


Quickly turn on the articulation feature and click ‘Occlusal Compass’ and voila!  We can clearly see that the buccal cusps are high.  This would be exactly where you would adjust this – either immediately after cementation or a few days later when the patient starts complaining of tooth pain.


A quick turn of the model – what I call ‘looking at it down the line’ – clearly shows the buccal cusps are high.


To adjust these i don’t use the anatomical shape tool, but instead use the circular shape tool.  It gives a better look of wear facets, which is what these cusps would look like in real life.


Take a look at a before and after side by side of this.


I know what you are thinking – this should have been easily caught using the ‘down the line’ view.  But truthfully how many of you reading are doing that regularly?

Just to ease your mind here are a few more examples.



The above examples clearly show what we already realize after seating on second molars.  The excursive movements make us grind away that beautiful anatomy.

So instead of doing it after the fact, let’s do it before we mill!

So how do you make utilize articulation?  You simply turn it on in the administration phase.



Happy CERECing!


Here is a video I created on how to implement articulation…



About the Author:

Dr. Tarun Agarwal represents the next generation of leadership for the dental profession. As a respected speaker, author and opinion leader, he is changing the way general dentists practice. His common sense approach to business, dedication to clinical excellence, integration of technology and down to earth demeanor has made him a recognized educator.


  1. Dr Harsh January 20, 2016 at 8:31 pm - Reply

    Point well made Tarun. I regularly use the articulation feature for the very same reason. I belive that you get better results when you scan the contralateral canine in order for the articulation algorithm to have better data. Is it true ?

    • T-Bone January 21, 2016 at 6:54 pm - Reply

      yes it is ideal to have contralateral canine. that being said we are getting good and more than adequate results with just the single canine – of course i am talking about when doing a single tooth

  2. Cynthia Graves, DDS January 20, 2016 at 9:41 pm - Reply

    Thanks for the tip T-Bone. I will use this tool tomorrow.

    • T-Bone January 21, 2016 at 6:56 pm - Reply

      glad i could be of assistance!

  3. dr.andres powditch del rio (CEREC Latinoamerica) January 20, 2016 at 9:46 pm - Reply

    Very well exposed case !!!!
    So true what you say……I repeat it constantly too.
    But to achieve well articulation you need at least to the canine and better to the contralateral canine.
    With short images you have better control but doesn’t give you accurate info.

    • T-Bone January 21, 2016 at 6:55 pm - Reply

      yes it may not be ‘accurate’ in the perfect sense of the word. but then again it isn’t really accurate without hte benefit of 3D jaw tracking in real time!

      that said this is plenty for a single restoration.

  4. Sanjay mali January 26, 2016 at 2:16 pm - Reply

    Thanks Tarun
    I think it’s very unutilised tool .
    Thanks for sharing .

    • T-Bone January 26, 2016 at 4:06 pm - Reply

      Sanjay….. i would bet that 50% of owners don’t even know it exists or how to turn it on… and that 90% don’t use it regularly.

  5. Veena Bhat January 26, 2016 at 9:04 pm - Reply

    I will try this tomorrow. I don’t even know it exists but it explains the mystery of my occlusal adjustments! Thanks!

    • T-Bone January 27, 2016 at 9:35 am - Reply

      Veena…. this is part of my point and frustration…. we have a unbelievable system but we don’t take (really make) the time to utilize it to do what we bought it for – to make our lives easier!

      i am so happy i could help!

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