One Visit Crowns, Inlays and Onlays

One thing that all of us share in common these days is our lack of free time to take off from work and other obligations in order to do things like keep our dental appointments. But fortunately dental technology has kept pace with the times, and now many forward-thinking dentists and leading edge dental offices have the capability of one-visit crown or inlay procedures. These kinds of processes used to take several steps that had to be scheduled out over multiple visits, and that cost more time, money, and hassle.

Typically a crown, inlay, or onlay will be recommended by your dentist when she or he believes that a cavity filling or similar repair to a damaged tooth is not going to be sufficient. When a tooth is chipped or cracked, for example, the portion of strong healthy tooth left over may be too small to ensure a tight fit of a filler material. Or if a cavity is too large and extends across enough of the tooth – or perhaps an old filling that is really big is getting replaced – then the dentist may suggest capping the whole area with a crown. That can help to ensure that the repair lasts longer, does not work loose and fall out, and that once the remedy is completed the repair looks attractive in a cosmetic sense.

Whatever the reason for doing this kind of dental procedure is – and regardless of how it started and what the desired outcome may be – it is always a rather complicated and involved process. There are several critical steps involved, and that is why conventional methods of doing this kind of inlay or crown can take several days or weeks spread across a few visits to the dentist. The new one-day procedures, however, combine state of the art technology like computer measurements and imaging with medical robotics to eliminate most of those unwanted delays.

In order to ensure that the new onlay or crown is a perfect fit, it has to be sculpted exactly to the dimensions of the part of the tooth it will replace. The first step is extremely accurate measuring. Because high-tech imaging can reproduce this area precisely, that cuts down on time before the crown is made and also eliminates much of the extra grinding and polishing after crowns are installed. Next the actual crown has to be built using synthetic materials or substances like porcelain or gold, but many advanced dental practices have robotic machines to do this while you wait. By making hundreds of precision cuts, the machine – which is computer run – can carve a crown within an hour or two.

Last but not least you get back in the dentist’s chair and the new crown or inlay is cemented into place, polished for a great fit, and then checked for stability. You can leave the office the same day with a completely new crown after just one visit. Of course you will probably want to schedule this kind of half-day dental visit ahead of time, so it is a good idea to make those plans during your routine visits when the dentist first discovers that you have a need for crowns and discusses your options with you.

Dr. Kelaher

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