**This video from Spear Education demonstrates how a crown, custom-made by CAD/CAM 3-D technology, restores a damaged tooth:**
Believe it or not, the answer to our blog title is: YES, you can in fact get a dental crown in one day. But first: what is a dental crown? It’s a dental cap designed to cover a decayed tooth that is beyond the point of repair with a filling, that recently underwent root canal therapy, or that is cracked or broken; the ultimate goal being to strengthen your damaged tooth.
While this type of repair wasn’t always able to be made so quickly & originally required a time consuming dental procedure, advancements in technology have enabled the dental industry to evolve with the times in order to save you time. So how is this possible?
It’s first important to understand more about how dentists can achieve this task and about the technology that enables dentists to accomplish this mission. We use a process called CEREC®, which stands for “Chairside Economical Restoration of Esthetic Ceramics”. It is a digital process that allows us to fabricate crowns, inlays, onlays and some veneers without having to send the case to a dental laboratory. Through CAD-CAM technology right in our office, we can often produce & insert the restoration in the same day. CAD refers to computer-assisted design, and CAM stands for computer-aided manufacturing. There are many cosmetic materials available that enable us to choose from a wide variety of tooth-colored shades, which allow us to closely match almost any tooth.
So how exactly does CEREC® work?
Unlike a traditional crown procedure, CEREC® requires only one appointment. CEREC® crowns are made from ceramic and, similar to a traditional crown appointment, we will still take x-rays to evaluate your unique situation and determine if this process is right for you. One particular factor we’ll look at closely is the amount of healthy tooth structure you have remaining.
Here is what you can expect:
- We will use an intraoral scanner to take photos of your teeth and to create a digital impression.
- This digital impression is then sent to the CAD-CAM software to produce a digital tooth restoration.
- From here, the restoration is sent to a manufacturing, or milling, machine to produce a physical crown from ceramic, which can take up to 15 minutes.
- We will then use cosmetic materials to accurately shade-match and polish the crown before cementing it to your tooth.
What are the benefits of CEREC® crowns?
So why should you consider a CEREC® crown versus a traditional crown? Here are some of the benefits:
- First & foremost, it looks and feels like a real tooth.
- The ceramic material is closely matched to your tooth’s color & the 3D imaging technology enables us to accurately fit the crown to your bite and gum lines.
- Patients generally find the CEREC® process to be more comfortable, and more preferable due to fewer appointments/less time spent in the dental office.
- CEREC® crowns can last just as long as a traditional metal crown (5-15 years), as long as you’re continuing to practice good oral hygiene.
Have questions? Just ask. We want to make sure that you’re fully equipped with all of the information that you need before making a dental crown decision.