Dental crowns are part of common dental procedures to replace a tooth or prevent a tooth from decaying more. While most people get them to protect their teeth from further damage, people may also choose to get them to restore their smiles. Having a dental crown placed, though, can take several visits and weeks, and can be a hassle if you have a busy schedule.
However, there is an alternative to traditional dental crowns: CEREC crowns. CEREC crowns allow you to receive your crown the same-day, so there’s no need to worry about multiple visits or fittings.
What are CEREC Crowns?
CEREC, or Chairside Economical Restoration of Esthetic Ceramics, uses CAD/CAM technology to design and generate a dental crown. With traditional crowns, impressions are taken from a patient’s mouth and then sent away to a dental laboratory to complete the process and creation of the crown.
Once the crown is made, it’s sent back and fitted in the patient’s mouth to ensure the correct bite. Sometimes, the crown may not fit correctly on the first try and may need to be altered or even re-made. Impressions can be hard to get perfect with traditional putty if the patient doesn’t bite down enough or too hard, affecting the end product.
CEREC Crown Process
Having a CEREC crown placed is an easy and quick process for the patient. Similar to traditional crowns, the dentist will examine a patient’s mouth and diagnose treatment.
If the dentist verifies that a patient needs a crown, they will prepare the tooth by administering a local anesthesia and removing the decaying areas of the tissue and tooth. A layer of enamel is removed to make room for the crown and roughen the surface to make sure the crown will adhere properly to it.
Unlike traditional crowns, there is no need for putty impressions. CEREC crowns are made the same day using digital impressions that are gathered with a scanner and x-rays. The scanner takes a 3D image of the area where the crown will be placed and then the CAD program designs and mills the crown.
The crown is then fitted correctly, usually with minimal adjustments, and polished to match the surrounding teeth. The entire process takes around two hours, depending on how many crowns are being placed and if any adjustments are needed during the fitting.
Benefits of CEREC Crowns
Both traditional crowns and CEREC crowns help to prevent tooth decay from further destroying your teeth and restores your smile, but CEREC crowns have even more benefits to them that make them worth it.
The biggest advantage of CEREC crowns is that you don’t have to worry about coming back for multiple visits. The impressions, creation, and fitting of the crown is done in one visit in a relatively quick and easy process.
With the convenience of same-day crowns, you can ensure your crown is comfortable and you can leave the office with confidence.
Precise digital impressions
Traditional crowns rely on putty to make an impression. This can be hard for those that have a bad gag reflex and make it more difficult to get a correct impression.
CEREC crowns use digital impressions with a camera that is less messy and invasive than the putty. Digital impressions are also more accurate than the putty. Patients, despite their best effort, may move their mouth slightly or not bite down properly which may alter the fit of the impression with traditional crowns. CEREC crowns, on the other hand, provide a more accurate scan of the tooth and surrounding area to avoid ill-fitting crowns.
After the digital impressions are taken, the crown is designed in front of you so you can approve the look of the crown, and then it will be milled right after. With a more precise impression, fittings are easier and more accurate, making the crown more comfortable from the start.
CEREC crowns are made from a block of porcelain, a material that has been used for many years in dentistry. Porcelain is a good choice for crowns due to its strength and reliability and can last up to 15 years with good oral health. It can also be easily matched to a patient’s surrounding teeth, making it look and feel like a real tooth.
Another option for CEREC crowns, which is less common, is composite resin. The material is white, but can be molded to look like other teeth. However, it can be less strong than ceramic.
No temporary crowns
If you have ever had a crown placed before, you know that temporary crowns can sometimes be uncomfortable. Since they aren’t meant to be a permanent fixture in your mouth, they are placed using a weaker adhesive that can be removed when your permanent crown is ready.
Although rare, temporary crowns can come loose or fall out, and you are more restricted on what you can eat with them.
By choosing a CEREC crown, you avoid the hassle of a temporary crown. Your permanent crown is ready in just one appointment and is crafted to fit and feel like your real tooth.
Creating a crown right in front of you allows you to choose the size, shape, and shade of the crown, meaning you can match your original tooth, or improve upon it within the dentist’s recommendations. Instead of having to wait weeks for a crown that may not look as you had hoped, you can ensure that your crown will be beautifully designed to match your expectations. CEREC’s porcelain material allows for a variety of shades and a glossy finish that will protect your tooth while creating a beautiful, healthy smile.
Disadvantages to CEREC Crowns
When it comes to selecting a CEREC crown over a traditional crown, there are very few disadvantages. They are fast to create, look natural, feel comfortable, and you have less discomfort during the procedure.
CEREC crowns may not be as resilient as traditional crowns, if you have an excessively strong bite. In that case, your dentist may suggest a different type of crown, such as metal-fused crowns; crowns with porcelain on top of metal to increase strength and longevity. Due to how CEREC crowns are made, they can only be made of one material.
Traditional crowns can be made for all types of teeth. CEREC crowns, however, may not be suitable for teeth that are badly damaged below the gumline as the scanner will not work as well. Your dentist will examine your mouth and make recommendations on which crown to get based on the health of your teeth.
Finally, CEREC crowns may cost more than traditional crowns, depending on insurance and out-of-pocket costs. Traditional crowns can be anywhere from $500 to $1800 per tooth, while CEREC crowns range from $800 to $3,000 per tooth. However, the extra cost may be worth it to save time from having to go to multiple appointments.
CEREC Crowns Vs. Traditional Crowns
The biggest difference between CEREC crowns and traditional crowns is the processing time. Traditional crowns take a longer time to create while CEREC crowns are completed and fitted the same day, making it easier and more convenient for you.
You also do not need to have a temporary crown put in place with CEREC, because it is a same-day procedure. However, if you have a strong or misaligned bite, you may need to stick with traditional crowns, which can have metal fused to porcelain to increase the strength of the crown.
Whichever one you choose, a traditional or CEREC crown, both types of crowns are crafted to last for years with proper dental care. At Corner Street Dentistry, our highly trained staff can provide you with the crown of your choice. We specialize in same-day crowns to help you restore your smile without interrupting your schedule.