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Live from San Antonio!

It's the all-new Live Operatory Center

Using what he jokingly dubbed a "dentist video game," Dr. Todd Ehrlich, an Austin, Texas, general dentist, demonstrated a computer-aided design/computer-aided manufacturing system at the ADA's all new Live Operatory Center Wednesday afternoon.

"This is what I do every day in my practice," said Dr. Ehrlich, who introduced his patient, Stacey Dane, also from Austin, at the beginning of the 45-minute live patient demonstration.

"Dentists like to have total control—not just in practice design and practice management—but also clinically. By using this in my small practice, I have almost eliminated my outside laboratory use and I can totally resolve any issues before I mill a crown and get exactly what I design."

After a brief overview of the process, Dr. Ehrlich started gaming—designing a crown for Stacey's tooth No. 3, which had a root canal and crown prep. Attendees watched the process up close via three large video monitors.

Within a few minutes, the milling machine was humming as it cut and water-sprayed the forming crown. As the machine did its work, Dr. Ehrlich outlined other capabilities of the CAD/CAM system.

Within seven minutes, the crown milling machine's red light turned green, and it was time to try the new crown.

"You'll be excited to do crowns and partials because it's so easy," he said.

The Live Operatory Center, located in the convention center Hall A, adjacent to the Registration area, features free programs at the CAD/CAM Stage, the 3-D Imaging Center and the Laser Pavilion continuing today through Saturday.