Aesthetic & Comprehensive Dentistry
A dental crown is a dental crown, right? Well, you may be surprised to learn that despite the continued success of traditional crowns, the design has continued to evolve, and this means that patients have a couple of options when it comes to choosing this type of dental restoration. So, faced with the choice between traditional crowns and same-day CEREC crowns, how do you know which is right for you? Here is what you need to know about both so that you can make an informed decision.
Traditional dental crowns have long been considered the gold standard for covering teeth that have been badly decayed or damaged and require restoration. These tooth-shaped ‘hats’ sit over the top of the affected tooth, encasing it inside so that it can no longer suffer any further problems. In covering it, the crown also restores the size and strength of the tooth so that it can be used as normal, as well as ensuring that it looks attractive and doesn’t compromise the patient’s smile.
The process of crowning a tooth starts out exactly the same way regardless of what type of crown they are receiving. After numbing and potentially sedation, any areas of decay are drilled out and the tooth is shaped so that a crown can fit over the top. However, that is where the similarities end.
When you choose a traditional dental crown, once your tooth has been prepared, our dentist will use putty to take an impression of the shape of your teeth. This is what will be used to create your permanent, custom-built crown. Unfortunately, many people dislike the feel of the putty in their mouth and find the process messy and unpleasant. The impressions are then sent away to a lab for your crown to be created. In the meantime, you are fitted with a generic temporary crown so that you don’t use the function of your teeth in the meantime. However, it won’t look or feel entirely right.
The process of making your traditional crown takes place off-site and the technician uses the mold of your teeth to determine the shape and size that your crown should be. It is then created either from metal with porcelain fused to it, or as is more common now, 100% porcelain. Porcelain is made from a recipe of ingredients which are mixed and poured into a mold. Once set, your crown is ready. You will then return to our dentist’s office around a week later to have the temporary crown removed and the new, permanent crown cemented into place.
Receiving CEREC crowns is a much shorter process. Firstly, instead of using putty to take impressions of your teeth, our dentist will sprinkle a reflective powder over your teeth and then scan them with a special wand. This wand is connected to a computer program that takes high definition images of the inside of your mouth so that it can generate an intensely accurate 3D model. This model is then used to design your CEREC crown, before the plans are sent via CAD/CAM software to a milling machine that creates your restoration from a solid block of dental ceramic. All of this happens while you wait, and your actual crown can be milled in less than 10 minutes. Once ready, our dentist can check that it fits you properly before the finishing touches – such as any staining and glaze – are applied. As soon as this has happened and the crown is ready, it can be permanently secured in place.
Unsurprisingly, the key benefit of same-day CEREC crowns is that the entire process can be undertaken in just one appointment, meaning you can leave with a permanently restored smile the very same day. There is no need to schedule multiple appointments in to your busy diary, and you won’t have to put up with a poorly secured, poorly fitting crown while your custom-designed version is being created.
If you need a dental crown and would like to know more about either traditional or same-day CEREC crowns, we would be delighted to offer our expertise. Please contact our offices with your query or to schedule an appointment with our experienced dental team.