When a tooth experiences trauma or starts to decay, custom-made “cap” called a crown can provide the structure and bite strength needed to function along with your other teeth.
These caps fit over the full tooth to help correct cosmetic issues, protect and preserve the roots, lessen future damage and restore bite strength. Once added, crowns can improve the look of your smile and last about 10 years with proper care.
The traditional process of creating a dental crown took at least two visits, scheduled weeks apart. A more efficient solution called same-day crowns emerged about three decades ago and have quickly grown in popularity for their quality and convenience.
For certain conditions, a patient may benefit more from a traditional crown. If you’re curious about the same-day procedure, find out what it takes to be an eligible candidate.
Traditional vs. Same-Day Crowns
In between appointments for a traditional crown, the mold taken by your dentist is sent to a laboratory for manufacturing of the permanent crown. As the most significant difference, the crown for a same-day procedure gets created right in our office and is fit before you go! This eliminates having to wear a temporary crown, which can detach or feel awkward.
Same-day crowns rarely involve the physical molds and impressions taken during a traditional procedure. Instead, a computer takes images of your mouth and this information is used to create a 3D mold via CAD/CAM manufacturing.
Beyond these key differences, the procedures share a few similarities. No matter the method, a dentist will prepare your tooth by removing any decay and shaping it for the crown. Made with a ceramic material designed to match your existing teeth, the crown gets fit to blend in with the rest of your mouth. Before the crown is bonded to your teeth’s existing structure, the dentist may make some minor adjustments to ensure the ideal fit.
Same-Day Crown Technology
Two technologies are used to create same-day crowns: Chairside Economical Restoration Esthetic Ceramics (CEREC) or E4D. At the heart of both processes is Computer Aided Design (CAD) and Computer Aided Manufacturing (CAM). CAD involves a software that creates 3D images of your teeth.
With CEREC, an infrared camera assists with capturing your tooth’s precise details and E4D does this with laser technology. Once the digital image is complete, CAM technology helps to precisely mill the crown, based on the details captured by the CAD software.
The milling process takes roughly 20 minutes, during which the CAM software replicates the details of the tooth’s chewing surface. A color as close to your natural teeth as possible is selected and, once the crown is created, it will be polished to blend in with the rest. For an even closer match, the crown may also be glazed before it’s bonded. Once the crown is fit, it will be secured with dental cement.
CEREC technology has been used for over 30 years. Over that period, its results have rivaled the quality received from traditional crowns manufactured at a third-party laboratory. Having an in-office machine eliminates the need to send molds to an outside service! Instead, once the crown is milled the restoration is fit to your teeth before you leave.
In total, the process of receiving a same-day crown can take up to two hours. With the right care, your restoration may last up to 15 years!
Who’s a Candidate for Same-Day Crowns?
In general, many of the individuals who would be candidates for a traditional crown can also benefit from a same-day procedure. These people typically have a mix of cosmetic and structural issues that compromise the tooth’s strength, including:
- Broken teeth
- Chips and cracks
- Excessive wear
As one key feature, the patient’s teeth still have the root and are structurally sound. In the instance of decay, it will be treated before the crown is added. Otherwise, the tooth will continue to decay beneath the cap.
Who’s Not a Candidate?
Your dentist may recommend traditional crowns or another restorative dental procedure if:
- The crown is located toward the front of your mouth, as the results may appear less natural. Laboratory-manufactured crowns tend to offer a wider option of tooth shades, allowing the result to blend in better.
- Damage extends below the gumline. If the crown needs to fit over the full tooth, your dentist may steer you toward a traditional crown.
- You grind your teeth. This habit can break the material used for same-day crowns and a gold alloy may be recommended. Because CAD/CAM technology cannot create this type of crown, the work will be sent to a third-party laboratory.
To learn more about same-day crowns, contact Smile Dental Center today.