What Are CEREC Crowns and Are They Right for Me?
For the longest time, if your dentist said you needed a crown on a tooth, or a bridge over several teeth, they would take a mold. Next, they would send the mold off to the lab to have the lab team create a crown. Which the lab would then send it back. And over the course of several weeks, you would have a good-looking smile once again.
CEREC dentistry has changed what was once a process that would take several weeks, into one that fits into the course of one appointment. If you are someone who is often plagued by dental anxiety, this may be the answer to your fears. Those who are time-strapped or who find it difficult to make it to the dentist once — let alone twice — may also benefit from CEREC.
CEREC stands for Chairside Economical Restoration of Esthetic Ceramics. And it encompasses dentistry that uses computer aided manufacturing and design as part of their process. It allows dentists to insert create, produce, and install ceramic restorations within their office in a single session. This process was first developed by Werner H. Mörmann in 1980 at the University of Zurich. It has since advanced to provide dentists and patients with a better experience for both.
What should I expect during my CEREC appointment?
While the particulars may vary depending on the restorative work that is needed for your case, overall, here is what will happen. You will have 3D images taken of the tooth that needs the CEREC crown, using a high resolution camera and a medical grade computer. Based on the 3D image and the specifications of your tooth, the design is inputted into the CEREC milling machine. A crown is then created out of a solid block of porcelain. This whole milling process takes between 10 to 15 minutes.
Once the CEREC crown has been created, it is fitted onto your tooth to make sure it sits well and the color matches that of the rest of your teeth. Next, it is glazed and baked for about 30 minutes. After this, it is bonded to the tooth and further adjusted as needed.
How long does a CEREC crown installation take?
Typically, CEREC installations take from one and a half hours to two and a half hours. But roughly half of this time is given to designing and milling the CEREC crown. So do not expect to be in the chair for the entire time. Bring reading material, or use the time to take a well-earned nap.
In what situations would a dentist advice a CEREC crown?
Not all dentistry offices have CEREC technology. Do your research first to find a dentist that has this technology installed. If your dentist has CEREC machines, then they may recommend a CEREC crown in the following circumstances…
- To protect or restore teeth that are cracked or damaged in some way
- To protect and cover a tooth following a root canal procedure
- To cover a dental implant
- To hold a dental bridge in place
- To improve a patient’s smile by restoring misshapen or discolored teeth
Do CEREC crowns last as long as traditional crowns?
CEREC crowns will last just as long as crowns made in a lab. Particulars, however, are dependent on the owner. So, for example, if a patient maintains and cares for their teeth, then there is no difference in crown longevity. CEREC crowns differ mainly in how they are made, that is to say, 3D imaging versus molds. Interesting to note, one of the main reasons crowns fail is due to decay. Which can happen around any type of crown or other restorative work done, regardless of the type of crown you have installed.
Caring for one’s teeth should be given time, attention, and focus. And are worth the investment of research and money in order to have a healthy mouth.