Dental crowns are one of the most common dental procedures performed today. If you have a tooth that is badly damaged by decay or becomes broken, your dentist may recommend a crown to strengthen and restore the tooth.

Having a traditional crown fitted involves more than one dental visit. A new technology called CEREC, however, is changing the dental crown game. With CEREC crowns, your dentist can prepare your tooth, create a crown in-office, and place the restoration—all in one visit.

Here’s a look at what makes CEREC crowns so innovative, and what to expect if you receive one.

What is a Dental Crown?

A dental crown is an artificial cover or cap for your tooth. It restores its appearance and chewing function in the mouth. It’s usually needed if you’ve had extensive work done on the tooth that has compromised its strength, or if the tooth was broken or lost a lot of its structure from decay.

A crown is also considered a form of esthetic dentistry, particularly if the tooth that needs one is visible when you smile.

Crowns are very common following a root canal procedure. This is when the tooth’s pulp and infected tissue must be removed from a tooth usually because of deep decay and toothache pain. A root canal leaves behind the “shell” of the tooth (as much of the interior has been removed) which must then be protected so it won’t break in the future.

The Traditional Dental Crown Procedure

Receiving a traditional dental crown often requires at least two visits. During the first visit, the dentist must prepare the tooth for the crown by removing the outer structure of the tool with shaping tools. You’ll receive a local anesthetic to the area so you won’t feel any discomfort during the procedure.

The dentist will next take an impression of the tooth to send to a dental lab for the crown to be created. In the meantime, they will place a temporary crown over the tooth to protect it and so that you can chew food until you receive the permanent crown.

You’ll return to the dentist to have the permanent crown placed on your tooth when it’s ready, which is usually about a week later. In some cases, the crown may need an adjustment to comfortably fit over the tooth and within the surrounding teeth. It will be returned to the dental lab and you’ll return to the dentist when it’s ready.

Traditional crowns come in several different materials such as porcelain fused to metal, zirconia, or ceramic. Each has its own pros and cons which your dentist can explain to you.

While there’s nothing wrong with traditional crowns, the process can be time-consuming for both patients and dentists. Now let’s take a look at how a CEREC crown is different.

The CEREC Crown Procedure

CEREC stands for Chairside Economic Restorations of Esthetic Ceramics. This means a dentist offering this type of crown can produce it right in the office using a milling machine. 

With CEREC crowns, the tooth is still shaped and prepared to receive the crown. But instead of taking an impression using putty-like material, however, CEREC technology takes detailed 3D digital images of the tooth and surrounding areas of the mouth. This ensures the creation of a very customized crown that is unlikely to need adjustments.

The dentist then uses the digital images to create a ceramic crown using a CEREC milling machine. This is similar to a 3D printer that makes solid objects. In about two hours, the machine has produced a crown that will fit precisely in the patient’s mouth.

CEREC crowns eliminate the need to wear a temporary crown, which can cause sensitivity and discomfort for some patients. Your dentist’s in-house team will also color the restoration so that it matches the shade of the rest of your teeth.

Best of all, the entire procedure can be completed in one office visit. The crown is unlikely to require adjustments and an additional dental visit.

What About the Cost?

With this level of high-tech dentistry, you may expect that CEREC crowns cost significantly more than traditional crowns. But this usually isn’t the case. The fact that all of the work can be done in one dental visit makes them affordable.

CEREC crowns are also only made of ceramic, which is considered the highest quality material available for dental restorations. As a result, they tend to cost only a few hundred dollars more than traditional crown options.

Your dentist will be able to provide estimates on both options to allow you to decide which one is best for you. Most dental insurance plans also cover at least part of major restorations such as crowns, including CEREC crowns.

Advantages of CEREC Crowns

To recap, here are the major advantages of CEREC crowns when compared to traditional crowns:

  • Less waiting; they require only one dental visit from start to finish.
  • They eliminate the use of placing putty-like impression material in the mouth to take an impression.
  • They don’t require wearing a temporary crown. Patients can avoid any sensitivity and discomfort from wearing one.
  • They use high-quality digital imaging which captures a very accurate rendering of the tooth and area of the mouth receiving the restoration.
  • The CEREC crown is created in-office. The finishing touches completed by the dental team to ensure the shade matches the other teeth.
  • There’s not much of a price difference between traditional crowns and CEREC crowns.
  • CEREC restorations are made of ceramic which is the highest quality dental material available.

With so many benefits, you should definitely take CEREC crowns into consideration if you need crown work done.

Blue Wave Dentistry is Proud to Offer CEREC Crowns

Blue Wave Dentistry is proud to be able to offer the option of CEREC crowns to our patients. We also have adopted other exciting other dental technology including intraoral imaging and dental lasers.

Whether you need a cleaning or a healthier smile, the Blue Wave Dentistry team looks forward to treating you in a caring, friendly environment. Contact us to make an appointment to learn more about CEREC crowns and our other services.