There are few things worse than biting into your own tooth during a delicious dinner. The inconvenience caused by multiple dentist trips and the long wait for a new crown might even overshadow the potential pain from chipping a tooth. However, there might be light at the end of the tunnel when your dentist offers you a same-day CEREC crown- while you wait!
But what is this wizardly, what is the benefit, and more importantly, can you trust it?
What Are Same-Day Dental Crowns?
Dental crowns are very much like a cap that fits over the affected tooth. In years past, crowns gave you that golden smile – quite literally, as they were traditionally made from gold. Modern, same-day crowns, however, are made from porcelain or ceramics that encases your existing tooth all the way down to the gum line.
They are designed to look natural and last years under the extreme stress that our teeth encounter in our every day lives. Normally, impressions are done with a gooey substance that you have to sit with in your mouth and then it gets sent off to a lab for a crown to be made.
CEREC crowns (stands for Chairside Economical Restoration of Esthetic Ceramic – quite the mouthful), or milled crowns are all common terms for same-day crowns created by a computerized “mill” in the dentist office. A digital impression is taken of the tooth (no more gooey substance!), and the mill cuts the crown out of porcelain based on the specifications. What’s neat about milled crowns is that the entire process takes about half an hour and is all done at your dental office.
To be fair, mills are not just limited to crowns but are also used to create veneers and onlays.
Same-Day Crown Process
As we’ve touched on, the dentist takes a digital impression of the necessary tooth through a small, 3D camera. This is far more comfortable than taking physical, traditional dental impressions (as anyone who ever suffered through impressions can vouch for).
Not to get too technical, but once your dentist has the specifications, they used CAD software on the CEREC machine (computer-aided design and manufacturing) to create a custom crown perfect for you.
Essentially, there are five steps involved in the process:
- Tooth Preparation – As with everything, preparation is key. Depending on the issue, your tooth will be thoroughly cleaned to remove any decay.
- Digital Impressions – The 3D digital images of your teeth only take a few minutes, and unlike traditional impressions, there is no gooey putty involved!
- Design – With the digital impression as a blueprint, your dentist will design a crown to perfectly match your smile, all the while balancing the right shape and shade.
- Miling – Not unlike a 3D printer, the digital image is sent to the CEREC milling machine to carve the crown from a solid piece of ceramic or porcelain.
- Placement – Finally, your new crown is ready to be bonded to the affected tooth for a natural, beautiful finish.
As this is done in-house while you wait! It eliminates the typical two to four-week waiting period.
Same-Day Crown Advantages
The first obvious advantage here is time. Unlike traditional crowns that require at least two trips to the dentist over a few weeks, same-day crowns eliminate the tedious waiting period. There is no need to place a temporary crown so there is no need for multiple procedures.
Let’s consider some of the other main advantages of CEREC crowns over traditional crowns:
- Comfort – as mentioned, there is no need for impressions and pastes, which is a great boon to many crown-seekers. The crowns are also metal-free, so there is less chance of sensitivity post-procedure.
- Aesthetics – Porcelain and ceramic crowns look much more pleasing than traditional crowns fused with metal. Tradition crowns display a thin, black line along the gums which gives it away, whereas CEREC crowns are subtle and discreet.
- Convenient – your tooth function is restored the same day (as the name implies) so there is no need to take extra time off work.
- Durable – CEREC crowns can last up to 10 to 15 years, and they keep more of your original tooth intact.
- Prevent decay – Traditional crowns will require a temporary placement while you wait for your permanent crown. Temporary crowns often come dislodged, which leaves room for discomfort, injury and decay.
Same-Day Crown Drawbacks
Just like any dental procedure, same-day crowns are not for everyone – benefits aside. There are simply some situations where your dentist will advise an alternative – even traditional crowns. It all comes down to the location of the impacted tooth.
While CEREC crowns don’t have any major disadvantages, there are still some factors worth considering;
- Cost – Given the level of technology that is involved with giving the patient the convenience of ready made crowns that last more than a decade, they do cost more than traditional crowns. The best thing to do is go over your options with the dentist.
- Below the gum fractures and other complicated scenarios – 3D cameras may not always capture the precise details below the gum line. If your dentist suspects an invisible fracture, they could advise on alternatives.
How Much Does a CEREC Crown Cost?
Even though the state-of-the-art equipment comes with a hefty price tag, there are no costs associated with the lab and there are no fees for temporary crowns. A single appointment also means less time in the chair to reduce the price.
The average price of CEREC crown in Canada and the United States can vary on average between $1,000 to $1,500 per crown. This is merely a ballpark figure and rates can wildly fluctuate depending on what needed to be created. Speak to the office about “fit your budget” payment plans.
Are CEREC Crowns Good for Molars?
Our canines were designed for gnashing and ripping our food into bitesize chunks, but the molars do all of the grunt work. Molars are less about aesthetics and all about function. Choosing the best molar crowns is slightly different; Molars are not in the line of sight, so there is far less concern about their appearance. Instead, the focus is solely on longevity and strength.
There are a few types of dental crowns for molars. While CEREC crowns can certainly be used on your back teeth, porcelain-metal fusions are still the most popular choice, purely for the sake of durability.
Same-Day Crown Dentists
The high-tech equipment and up-to-date expertise required to create CEREC crowns are not typical in dental offices. To date, only about 10% of dentists offer this service, as per “USA Today.”
When you discover that you need a same day crown, you’ll want to consider a few dentists for the job. While general dentists can perfectly fit crowns as part of their day-to-day job, not every dentist specializes in CEREC technology.
In this case, online searching can be your friend. A quick search for same-day crown dentists in your area will point you in the right direction. However, don’t fall into the trap of picking the first dentist you find. Do a bit of research to establish their reputation, and consider online reviews by fellow crown-wearers. Same-day dental crowns are gaining momentum, and word of mouth also goes a long way in finding the perfect practitioner.
How to Care for Same Day Crowns
Once your new pearly whites are in place, your dentist will advise you on how to care for your new crown. This will include a list of foods to avoid, and dental cleaning techniques. You will have to take some care to keep them working for the years to come. Crowns are quite a financial investment, so you are well-advised to avoid certain foods for at least one to two weeks after the procedure.
For the time being, try to avoid the following foods – it is a small price to pay for a short period;
- Hard veggies and nuts – We all know that hard veggies are good for us, but for now, forget what you were taught for the next few weeks. While your crowning glory settles, opt for soft veggies that do not need a lot of forceful chewing. Hard, crunchy foods can damage the crown. Wait until the crown has properly bound before you move to hard solids.
- Cold foods – Your crown may feel a little sensitive for a few days to both extreme hot and cold food. The mere consideration of ice cream might leave you cringing, but avoid exposure to excessively cold (or hot) treats for a few days.
- Gum – Chewing gum is controversial at best, but for the sake of your new crown, best steer clear of this sticky mess, or risk spitting out your crown with it. Instead, opt for a travel-friendly mouth wash to keep your breath (and teeth) fresh.
- Red wine – Bad news for the wine connoisseurs, but it is only temporary. Red wine has a habit of staining teeth under normal circumstances, so while your new crown finds its place, stick to clear drinks when you are feeling social.
- Sticky foods – Like gum, raisins and caramels have a way of getting caught between teeth. While flossing can come to the rescue, you can also pull your new crown clean off if it hasn’t settled properly.
Aside from changing your diet (for now), there are several dental hygiene practices to properly care for your gnashers. They include:
- Slide the floss between the gaps instead of lifting it out like you normally would. As mentioned, it could damage the crown. Alternatively, you can consider getting a water flosser.
- Chew on the side of your mouth that hasn’t been crowned while the bonding is hardening. Besides, it might be too sensitive to chew directly on the crown anyway.
- It should go without saying, but don’t neglect your normal dental routine, even if some areas are sensitive. It is especially important to clean the area where the gum meets the tooth to prevent gum disease.
- Part and parcel of a good oral routine are regular visits to the dentist for a proper, thorough clean. Once every six months should have you covered.
It is worth a mention that shortly after your appointment and when the anaesthetic wears off, you may experience mild swelling and soreness around the area. The new crown can also feel sensitive for a few weeks. While some foods should be avoided in the interim, the feeling is completely normal. Complications are rare, but keep an eye out for red flags, like prolonged sensitivity.
Can You Use an Electric Toothbrush on Dental Crowns?
With your new crown in place, you need to pay extra attention to your oral hygiene if you want long-term success. Your toothbrush is your first line of defence. Dentists generally favour electric toothbrushes to protect your investment, but will they work on crowns and veneers?
Both manual and electric brushes are effective when they are used correctly. The only reason why electric brushes come out top is that they offer more strokes per minute. There is no need to fear that the sonic vibrations will loosen the crown either – they are simply not strong enough. If the crown was cemented properly, no amount of brushing should loosen it. If it does, the toothbrush is not to blame, but the workmanship.
Same-Day Crowns to Turn that Frown Upside Down
Same-day crowns might be a relatively new concept, but artificial caps have been around for centuries. Long gone are the days of wooden dentures, but the art of the craft has been tried and perfected. The eyes might be the windows to the soul, but our smiles are the manifestation of our wellbeing. A chipped or unsightly tooth will also chip away at your confidence, and thanks to modern technology, there is no need to hide your pearly whites while you wait for a permanent crown.
Same-day crowns can see you going about your life in next to no time.
While same-day dental crowns might not be ideal for everyone, we hope this guide will help you make an informed decision based on your unique circumstances and budget.
You should speak with a dentist at St. Andrew’s Dental Centre in Aurora to understand what kind of crown you need and its costs.
If you have any further questions or to find out if you need a crown, get in touch with us or just call us in Aurora ON on 289-796-0420 to schedule an appointment with one of our dentists. We will be happy to answer any questions you have and advise you about what course of treatment might be the best for you.