CAD / CAM stands for Computer Assisted Design and Computer Assisted Manufacturing.
NON CAD / CAM CROWNS (Dental Lab based): A routine impression of your teeth is taken and sent to laboratory. Laboratory make a crown using conventional methods. Usually metal crown and PFM crowns are made by this technique.
INDIRECT CAD / CAM CROWNS (Dental Lab based): A routine impression of your teeth is taken and sent to a laboratory. Laboratory scans the impression by using in-lab scanner and makes crown using milling machine.
NOTE: In both the above ways the dentist has either no or minimal control over the final crown design and final outcome: Crown is as good as the reputation of the associated dental laboratory.
DIRECT or FULL CAD / CAM CROWNS: A digital scan of your teeth is taken. The scan is analysed on a CAD software and the crown is designed keeping in view neighbouring teeth, opposite teeth and bite direction. Various parameters like thickness, margins and contacts with surrounding teeth are precisely controlled up to micron level accuracy. Expected post procedure results can be visualised before the actual procedure. The final design is processed through a connected CAM unit in clinic or a laboratory. These crowns have superior fit, color matching, strength and very good cosmetic parameters.