A CEREC machine can create a dental crown in one appointment instead of two. But is it the right method to cap your damaged tooth?
Thanks to modern technology, dental patients no longer have to wait weeks for a dental crown. Today, many dentists employ a system that completes the dental crown process in one session.
Same-day crowns offer a simple alternative to the traditional procedure by which dental crowns are created and sealed over a damaged tooth.
With the traditional method, patients schedule two appointments — one to prepare the tooth for the crown and another to affix the crown to the tooth. In between, the patient waits at least two weeks while an impression of the tooth is sent to a lab for the crown to be made. During that time, the patient wears a temporary cap that is often uncomfortable, or worse, at risk from being dislodged from the tooth.
But with digital imaging and an in-office milling instrument called a CEREC machine, dentists now offer same-day crowns that only require one appointment. Here’s a look at what to expect during the procedure.
How CEREC Works
CEREC stands for Chairside Economical Restoration of Esthetic Ceramics, or CEramic REConstruction. The process begins similarly to the traditional crown procedure, in that the dentist cleans and files down the tooth to prepare it to hold the crown. The main difference between the crown modeling process is that rather than taking a mold of the tooth with clay, the dentist snaps a 3D image of it.
Using CEREC software, the dentist crafts a digital impression of the prosthesis on a flat screen that matches the tooth being capped. The final image is then fed into the CEREC machine, where the crown is instantly milled from dental porcelain or ceramic. The new crown is then fitted over the damaged tooth and cemented into place.
The entire process takes roughly an hour, and patients leave the office with a strong, porcelain crown. The CEREC system also permits dentists to remove less of the original tooth because the process captures a precise image of the crown. The only after-effect from the procedure may be slight soreness around the treated tooth, but otherwise there is no recovery period or food restrictions. As long as patients practice good dental hygiene, the crown will last as long as one made in a lab over the course of a couple weeks.
If there is one drawback to same-day crowns it’s that CEREC machine-made crowns may not exactly match the color of the tooth being replaced. Though there is only a slight color difference, this makes same-day crowns less attractive for front teeth. Consequently, the CEREC system may be better suited for teeth in the back or sides of the mouth.
Are Same-Day Crowns Your Best Fit?
As with any dental procedure, you should discuss with your dentist whether same-day crowns are an ideal solution for any cracked or severely decayed teeth you may have. At Espire Dental, we’re experienced in creating crowns using the CEREC method. We also provide a variety of cosmetic and restorative dental services and can discuss the best options for you during a consultation.
If you want a quick, convenient, and comfortable way to get a new crown, contact our office for an appointment today. We’ll answer any questions you may have about same-day crowns, the CEREC machine, or alternatives to same-day crowns. In just one quick dental appointment, you could have a brighter smile — don’t delay getting treatment any longer.