Our patients may need a crown put on a tooth for a variety of reasons. Crowns are dental caps that cover a tooth that has decayed beyond the extent of repair via filling, recently undergone root canal therapy, cracked or broken, or for esthetic improvement. A crown can be a time consuming dental procedure but ultimately helps strengthen your damaged tooth. With CEREC crown technology, you can have a crown on your damaged tooth in just one appointment. A CEREC crown can quickly help you regain your confidence and bring your smile back to its original glow.
What is a CEREC crown?
CEREC stands for Chairside Economical Restoration of Esthetic Ceramics. The method utilizes CAD/CAM or computer-aided design/computer aided manufacturing to create a crown that perfectly fits your damaged tooth. Your dentist will use the CAD/CAM technology to take images of your teeth. The images are used to create a digital model of your teeth to fit the crown. The CEREC crown is milled from a ceramic block based on the CAD/CAM model, then perfectly shaded to match your natural teeth, and bonded to your tooth. All of this takes place in one appointment.
The traditional vs. CEREC crown process
The traditional dental crown process typically requires more than one appointment. Traditional crowns can be made of a variety of materials such as all metal, all ceramic, porcelain fused to metal, zirconia or porcelain fused to zirconia. Your dentist will take the following steps for placing a crown on your tooth:
- Take x-rays of your damaged tooth to figure out if you do need a crown and recommend root canal therapy if needed.
- Numb your tooth and file down the edges to make room for the crown. If there’s too much of the tooth missing, your dentist may use a filling material to help the tooth support the crown.
- Use a putty to make an impression above and below your tooth to measure the correct size for the crown so it doesn’t affect your bite or spacing.
- The impression will be sent to a lab where your crown will be made in about two weeks. You may have a temporary crown during the waiting period that’s made of acrylic.
- After the crown arrives at your dentist’s office, you will go in for a second visit to cement the crown on your tooth.
CEREC crowns only require one appointment. All CEREC crowns are made from ceramic and can be used for severely decayed, misshapen or broken teeth just like a traditional crown. Your dentist will still take x-rays of your teeth, recommend root canal therapy if needed and file your tooth the same way they would for a traditional crown. For the CEREC crown process, your dentist will do the following after the initial crown preparation:
- Use an intraoral scanner to take photos of your teeth and create a digital impression.
- The impression is sent to the CAD/CAM software machine that then creates a digital tooth restoration.
- The finished restoration is sent to a milling machine that creates the physical crown out of a ceramic block. This process only takes up to 15 minutes.
- Your dentist will polish and shade match the completed crown and then cement it to your tooth.
What are the benefits of CEREC crowns?
One of the most beneficial parts of a CEREC crown is that it looks and feels like a real tooth. The ceramic material is matched to your tooth’s color and the 3D imaging technology accurately fits the crown to your bite and gum line. Some traditional crowns are made from metal and you can often see them poking out of your tooth. The CEREC crown process is typically more comfortable for patients and easier to fit into your schedule with just one appointment. If you practice good oral hygiene, CEREC crowns have been proven to be just as durable and last between five and 15 years like a traditional crown.
Are CEREC crowns more expensive?
CEREC crowns cost the same as traditional crowns, but it requires one less visit which could save you an extra co-pay. CEREC crowns are covered by dental insurance, but the level depends on your provider. You can speak with your insurance provider about how much of the procedure they will cover before you decide on a CEREC crown.
How do I take care of my teeth after I get a CEREC crown?
Your crowned tooth may be sensitive for a few days after the procedure. Try to avoid sticky or chewy foods right after your crown is placed. Continue brushing your teeth twice a day for two minutes each time and flossing once a day. Your dentist might also recommend fluoride mouthwash to better clean your teeth or a sensitivity toothpaste to help curb hot and cold sensitivity. It’s important to continue good dental hygiene as crowned teeth are still susceptible to decay near the gum line. Continuing your relationship with us by keeping up with your semi-annual cleanings and exams will aid in prolonging a lifelong healthy smile.
Does Derksen Dentistry offer CEREC crowns?
Our office is happy to offer CEREC crowns and bridges for our patients who have a damaged tooth or want to correct misshapen teeth. Contact us to set up an appointment if you think you may need a crown and want to learn more about the CEREC method.