The typical process of obtaining a crown for a damaged or missing tooth is an extensive commitment for the patient and their dentist. It may take 2-3 wees to receive a dental crown, making the experience one that is dreadful, uncomfortable, and sometimes even problematic. Some patients never return to the dentist after the crown is made because of the issues involved with this process.
CEREC (Chairside Economical Restoration of Esthetic Ceramic) crowns are a solution that is pushing the field of dentistry forward in a positive direction. This option uses CAD/CAM technologies to expedite the process of crown creation to reduce the amount of time that is necessary to restore a patient’s oral health.
Dentists will create a 3-D impression of the patient’s mouth when they are certified to perform this procedure. This process eliminates the traditional impression material that can be bothersome to some people. A tiny camera will take images of the teeth, and then the milling unit will begin to create the ceramic crown. Once it is created, it will be glazed to match the other teeth and bonding can happen in minutes.
If you require a tooth replacement or had a recent root canal where a crown is recommended, then here are the CEREC crowns pros and cons to review with your dentist before making a final decision about your oral health.
List of the Pros of CEREC Crowns
1. The process of a CEREC crown is exceptionally rapid.
If you have a dentist in your service area which offers these crowns, then you can have a restoration of your smile in as little as two hours. Although that does not include the time it may take to prepare your teeth for the crown, the waiting time for complete restoration is significantly reduced thanks to CEREC technologies. You will no longer need to worry about wandering around with a temporary metal crown that may or may not fall off when eating foods.
2. It only takes a few minutes to create a digital impression of your mouth.
If you had to have a crown in the past, then your dentist would give you a dental impression putty that would be placed in your mouth to create the mapping needed to provide the correct fit. The material used in this putty is called alginate, which is an elastic, irreversible hydrocolloid. You would then need to wait until the putty set, which could be 20-45 minutes depending on the product the dentist used.
Thanks to the tiny camera that the CEREC crowns process uses to create a digital impression of your mouth, the entire process is over in just a couple of minutes. You don’t need to worry about those nasty cardboard x-ray pieces in your teeth, cotton balls, or the other items that sometimes get stuck in the mouth either.
3. There is no compromise on the fit and feel of your new crown.
CEREC crowns are generally created at the office where you are receiving dental services. That means the impressions which are taken from your mouth to update your oral health are not being sent out to another provider. The milling unit for your new tooth is in the same building where your appointment is located, which means there is a significant time-savings to the entire process thanks to the in-house design of this technology. When you combined the CAD/CAM programming with the milling work, you are guaranteed to receive a crown which is precise and accurate for your mouth.
4. CEREC crowns look and feel like real teeth.
One of the most significant complaints that patients have when they are fitted with a crown is that it makes their mouth feel different than it was before. Although this issue can occur with CEREC crowns if the procedure is restoring the shape of a patient’s mouth, most people feel like these crowns look and react as if they were real tooth. Even if you run your tongue along the new crown, it feels like a regular tooth. That means people are more likely to use it when chewing, which can help keep the strength of the jaw high – reducing the risk of further dental emergencies.
5. It fits into a patient’s mouth perfectly.
The computer technologies which help to create the new tooth with a crown is required will build a crown that works flawlessly with the rest of the mouth. Your dental team will paint and glaze the ceramic materials as needed to ensure that your new crown looks like a real tooth when you smile, no matter where its placement is required. From an aesthetic point of view, there is no other crown that your dentist could offer today that competes with CEREC technologies. No one will know that it isn’t your real tooth unless you decide to tell them about the dental work you had done.
6. CEREC crowns are a durable, long-lasting product.
Most people can have their crowns last for up to 15 years when they decide to use this technology to restore their oral health. The CEREC process can provide a minimum of 10 years of support for those who struggle to properly care for their teeth. If you brush at least twice per day, watch the foods that you eat, and clean your mouth adequately, it is possible to have your crowns last much longer than this as well.
7. There is less sensitivity after the procedure is finished.
During the traditional crown-fitting process, dentists are often required to poke and prod around the damaged tooth to ensure that a correct fit can occur. When you add in the impressions and temporary crowns that are required as well, there can be a lot of sensitivity in the mouth after the operation. Although CEREC crowns do not completely remove this issue, most patients do experience less pain after they receive their new tooth using this option compared to the other services that are offered today.
8. CEREC crowns help to restore the function of your teeth immediately.
Your teeth will affect the way that you smile, how you talk to others, and how you eat foods. When you receive a temporary crown while waiting for the traditional dental laboratory to design a permanent crown, you must take care of when talking or eating to ensure that you don’t lose this new tooth. Some dentists may even require you to follow a specific diet so that the temporary crown does not fall off. You will not face any of these issues if you opt for having a CEREC crown to restore your oral health.
9. This technology can help to prevent an injury from occurring.
When your dentist fits you with a temporary crown, then you will need to wear it for up to three weeks until your new permanent crown gets shipped to your local office. This temporary crown does not always fit correctly in your mouth because it is a premade product. That means you can come loose, even if you follow all of the instructions that your dentist provides to the letter.
Should this circumstance occur, it will often cause an injury or another issue with your oral health that may require an additional appointment with your dentist. The same-day technologies that CEREC provides reduces this risk because you receive a properly-fitted crown during your visit.
10. CEREC crowns require less drilling.
Dentists must anchor the crown to your tooth to ensure that it will be a permanent fit. This process often requires extensive drilling to ensure that the base of the tooth can be saved. When you opt for CEREC crowns at your local office, then you can experience less of the bothersome drilling that often keeps people away from the dentist. That also means more of your natural tooth supports the new addition, which gives you a stronger, longer-lasting result compared to other options which may be available.
11. It can help you to save money over the process of the procedure.
Depending on the insurance coverage that you have for dental work, the cost of a traditional crown may be upwards of $1,000. That doesn’t include the cost of your office visits, follow-up appointments, and the other dental work that is necessary to correct your oral health. Although the cost of a single CEREC crown may be up to $1,500, it is usually a comparable price to the entire process when following the traditional route. In some geographic regions, patients might pay as little as $500 for this option when they need to have a tooth repaired.
List of the Cons of CEREC Crowns
1. CEREC crowns may not be as strong as some of the other options that are available.
The technologies that are behind the creation of CEREC crowns will use a block of ceramic to help mill a new tooth that you can use almost immediately. Traditional crowns usually consist of ceramic, porcelain, metal, or porcelain that is fused to metal. The latter option offers more strength than this technology, which means it could be a more durable option for some patients who have challenging oral health issues. Metals bond better to the tooth, which means it is more resistant to wear and tear, fracture, and other forms of damage.
2. The scanning process does not capture extended fractures.
If the fracture of your tooth extends below the gum line, then the cameras which are used to develop a new crown through CEREC technologies cannot detect this issue with your oral health. In this situation, a traditional crown would be a better fit because it would create a foundation that was more stable for the update to your tooth configuration. You may wish to speak with your dentist about this issue because it may require additional work to help stabilize the tooth in question before a crown can be placed on the tooth.
3. There may be some issues with color matching for some patients.
Because CEREC crowns are milled from blocks of preformed material, some patients may find that the color matching services provided by their local office may not be as perfect as they would like. Some dentists have reported that they had to remake a crown using a different block of color with this technology to satisfy the needs of their patients. Although the amount of work required for this update is minimal since you load the block into the milling machine and start the computer, it can be a point of uncertainty for someone who requires a crown in a prominent location.
4. It may work better for the back teeth of some patients.
If you do have some concerns about the color of your crown or how it will look when you smile, then you may wish to opt for a traditional product instead of the CEREC process. Conventional products are manufactured in the laboratory where they can achieve the perfect color gradient for your front teeth. This option may not be possible when seeking same-day services for a dental emergency that occurs in the front part of the mouth.
5. CEREC crowns may not work with other crowns that are in your mouth.
If you have already received several traditional crowns to repair dental issues in the past, then CEREC technologies may not be the appropriate option to restore your oral health. Although there is nothing to prevent this new technology from creating a healthier mouth, your dentist will want to see how the new crown will fit with the existing repairs that already support your smile. There may be some situations where a traditional crown is a better option, despite the potential disadvantages, because the composition of CEREC crowns may experience premature wear and tear.
6. Dentists must be certified in this process to offer the service.
CEREC crowns are not an option at every dentist office. You may find that this same-day service is only offered by a specific provider in your community. If you happen to live in a small town, then you may have to travel a significant distance to visit your closest provider that offers this dental option. That means you may be forced to travel outside of your insurance network, which would potentially negate any benefits that you might receive. If this disadvantage applies to you, then it may be cheaper to pursue a traditional crown instead. You can potential find a provider through the CEREC dentist finder located here: https://www.sdcerec.com
7. The quality of the crown is dependent upon the skill of your dentist.
Although CEREC crowns are milled through the use of computer technologies, there is still a certain amount of skill necessary to provide a desired final result. If you are working with a dentist who is new to this technology, then you may discover that the results are not comparable to what would’ve been created in a specialized laboratory for your tooth replacement. Although it should still perform aesthetically and functionally as any other tooth, you may discover that the final result takes some getting used to using.
8. There are still options which provide longer-lasting results.
One of the primary reasons that dentists used gold crowns in the past was because the material was significantly more durable than any other alternative. Although there are options available today which are beginning to rival this expensive oral health restoration process, some dentists still believe that the creation of a gold crown is still the “gold” standard when there is a need to create a functional restoration for a patient. Further research is necessary to determine if CEREC crowns can provide similar long-term effects.
9. CEREC crowns create the potential for an over-diagnosis.
One of the biggest complaints that patients have with dentists is the possibility of an over-diagnosis. Unfortunately, there are still some people out there that like to tell patients that their oral health is worse than it really is as a way to generate more revenues. Since the cost of milling is largely fixed, that means more work equates to additional profits. It is the same reason why some dentists will state the presence of cavities when none actually exist. Make sure that your dentist articulates and shows you why a CEREC crown is necessary before agreeing to the final procedure.
10. Future technologies may eliminate the need for CEREC crowns.
The advancement of three-dimensional printing may eliminate the need for milling in the future, which means the investment into this technology may be short-lived. Although this disadvantage primarily applies to dentists, patients do need to consider all of their options before settling on a specific treatment plan. It may be beneficial to receive a same-day restoration in some situations, but there will always be times when waiting for a traditional crown might be the better solution.
The pros and cons of CEREC crowns help to support the busy modern lifestyle where it is a struggle to adapt to changes in our scheduling. This one-day procedure allows you to correct an issue with a tooth without requiring you to take the entire day off, and then juggle multiple appointments in the future. Everything can be completed on the same visit. Although this option may not be right for everyone, it is an exciting evolution of dentistry that will help you support a healthier smile.