process using CEREC technology
final result using CEREC technology
before porcelain crown
intermediate stage during porcelain crown
final result of porcelain crown
Dental crowns may be constructed of all metal (such as gold), metal alloys fused onto a porcelain shell, or all porcelain or ceramic. All-metal crowns are strong. However, they aren’t very pleasing to the eye. Crowns made of metal and porcelain can cause the gum line to darken, which may not be aesthetically appealing – but most metal to porcelain crown are aesthetic enough if made from a quality office and lab. For a more natural look, all-porcelain or all-ceramic crowns are the best choice.
CEREC ONE-VISIT CROWNS – A recent innovation available in our Dallas location is the “Computer-assisted design-Computer-assisted manufacture” crown, or “CAD-CAM.” The company that is foremost in this technology is CEREC. This crown is milled by a computer to fit your tooth precisely, thus eliminating the laboratory step in manufacturing the crown – making it just a one appointment. There is an additional cost to this procedure but for some patients, this is well worth coming back for a second appointment.
Once it has been decided that a dental crown is your best treatment option, your dentist will prepare the tooth for crowning. During the preparation phase, a local anesthetic will probably be used to numb the area around the tooth. The tooth will first be thoroughly cleaned and any decay will be removed. The tooth will then be reshaped using a special dental drill designed for this purpose. Typically, the shape is tapered to allow the crown to sit comfortably over the tooth. After the tooth has been prepared, an impression of the tooth will be made using a special kind of dental putty. The impression will be used by the lab technician as a guide from which to create the crown for the prepared tooth. This is to ensure that the crown fits properly. After the impression is made, the dentist will put a temporary crown on your tooth to protect it until the permanent crown is completed and placed.
When the completed crown arrives at the dentist office, you will return for a second visit to have the crown placed. During this visit, the temporary crown will be removed, and the outer surface of the tooth will be roughened with a special etching acid. The dental cement will bond better to the roughened surface. Before the crown is permanently bonded to the tooth, however, the dentist will sit the crown over the tooth to make sure it fits properly and to see if the color, shape, and fit work well with your smile. Once you and your dentist are both happy with the way the crown looks and fits, the dentist will firmly bond the restoration to your tooth with the dental cement.
If you choose a CEREC ONE-VISIT CROWN, an infrared camera takes images of the tooth after shaping and a CAD CAM computer program immediately downloads the images creating three-dimensional virtual models that can be viewed and manipulated on the computer monitor. Our dentist then uses the program to design the crown or onlay that will replace the missing tooth structure. This usually takes about three to five minutes. Next a porcelain block is selected, is inserted into a milling machine and the software program sends a signal to the milling machine to create the design in porcelain. This takes about 13 to 18 minutes. Once completed, the crown is polished, tried in the mouth, adjusted and bonded into place. The entire process takes about 2 hours and there is a period of about ½ hour for design and milling that can be used to accomplish other needed dental work.
The cost of a dental crown may vary according to the type of crown that you choose. Determining factors may include the skill of the dentist, the quality of the crown, and the materials used to make the crown. Consult our office managers to get an estimated cost for having a tooth crowned.
Treat your dental crown the way you would treat your natural teeth. Brush at least twice a day and floss daily. Visit your dentist regularly. Avoid grinding your teeth and eating foods that could potentially damage the restoration (i.e. ice and hard candy). Do not open bottles with your teeth and avoid biting your nails. By taking good care of your teeth, the dental crown could last as long as 10 years or more. But note that crowns do not last forever – the more you use them, the more wear and tear… which results in more replacements.