Your Guide to Same-Day CrownsPublished by Cashion Dental on August 26, 2016
In the past, it would take two appointments for dentists to place a crown and you would have to make do with a temporary crown until your second appointment.
The reason was that we would have had to create your crown in a dental laboratory. Between each appointment, a lab tech would be hard at work manually creating your new crown from scratch. The process could take weeks, and patients would have to put up with a temporary crown while they were waiting. The first appointment was dedicated to taking an impression of your teeth, which would be passed on to the lab techs. We’d call you back in to actually install the crown when the technician was finished.
While you can still reap the benefits of custom crown creation, technology has evolved quite a bit. Dentists (like us) who are willing to invest in this technology can offer a convenient, same-day alternative that allows you to get the process over with. Since everyone is busy most of our patients greatly appreciate this capability! It is only through the magic of 3D printing that we are able to so efficiently streamline and complete the process.
Meet CEREC Technology
We use a process called Chairside Economical Restoration of Esthetic Ceramics (or CEREC) which allows us to use a digital camera at the end of a small rod to take a 3D picture of your mouth. We then send the digital impression to our 3D printer, which produces the crown in our office in a matter of minutes. We then refine the printer’s output with a bit more shaping so that you get the perfect fit. We then place your new crown right away, without any finicky temporary crowns to deal with. This allows you to cross the whole thing off your list once your appointment is complete.
How good is the color matching?
Color matching is exact, but it is not nuanced. We are able to match the color of your teeth thanks to the 3D technology; however, the technician would use tiny brushes and layers of ceramic on the prosthetic tooth to simulate the color changes that are found in natural teeth. The 3D printer is only able to give us one color option; while the crown won’t be obvious to casual observers, a closer inspection may make it seem more obvious. For that reason we tend to not recommend same-day crowns for front teeth.
How strong are CEREC crowns?
CEREC crowns are reasonably strong as they are made of ceramic. CEREC crowns are expected to last for 25 years or longer, assuming that you take care of them as advised. On the other hand, they are not quite the strongest crowns that we have available (that honor goes to metal crowns), but in most cases that won’t matter. You’d also have to revert back to the two-step process to install a metal or a porcelain-on-metal crown.
You might be interested to know that CEREC printing materials are constantly evolving and are getting stronger all the time. We wouldn’t be surprised to see a crown that rivals metal for strength rolling off of our in-office printers within approximately twenty or thirty years. Recently, we’ve seen the introduction of a substance called Emax, While Emax is still a ceramic substance, it is incredibly durable. They have a tendency to be stronger than zirconia crowns and chip less, which is a phenomenal accomplishment.
Is everyone a good candidate for CEREC?
No, as everyone’s dental situation is different. In addition to the issue raised above in terms of crown placement, it may also be medically desirable for some patients to opt for stronger crowns installed in the traditional way. When you come into our offices we’ll conduct a full evaluation so we can give you insight into all of your options.
Issues that could make you a poor candidate for CEREC include:
- Gum disease
- Bite issues
- Deep decay
- Habitual tooth grinding or clenching
If you have any of these problems, or if we think that you’ll need a root canal in the future, we will help you find the option that best suits your needs and will continue to offer top-notch dental care.
Are there price differences?
CEREC crowns cost more or less what a traditional crown costs (ranging between $800 and $2000). Generally, you will see these costs sticking to the lower end of the spectrum simply because we save so much money on lab costs (Emax is an exception; it is considered to be a premium material and thus can cost nearly as much as a gold crown might).
You generally will not see differences in insurance coverage either. Most insurance companies consider CEREC crowns to be just as reliable as other types of crowns. Some of our patients enjoy full insurance coverage for CEREC crowns.
On average, our patients are billed $1,100 for CEREC crowns.
Do same-day crowns require special care?
Same-day crowns should not require special care and should function exactly as your natural teeth do. We are simply going to ask you to be extremely vigilant about brushing and flossing as you were before. We also stress the importance of regular check-ups.
We will warn you to stay away from certain foods however. Sticky foods like caramel could pull your crown right off of the vulnerable tooth beneath, so it is best to stay away!
Does every dental office offer same-day crowns?
Absolutely not. The CEREC system is a big investment; we are one of less than 15% of dentists in the country who have taken the plunge on behalf of our patients.
If you think you might need a crown and you want the convenience of a same-day procedure, make sure to call us first.