Dental crowns are specially fitted caps placed over a tooth to protect and preserve it. They can be made of a variety of materials, including porcelain, metal, ceramic and resin. Porcelain can also be combined with metal to form yet another material called porcelain-fused-to-metal. Historically, dental crowns are ancient. The skulls of skeletons found in Southeast Asia some four millennia old still had gold caps on their teeth. However, the origins of the modern dental crown date back to much more recent times. In 1903, a dentist named Charles Land introduced the first all-porcelain jacket crown, which is quite similar to the dental crowns still in use today. Your text to link… Thankfully for patients, the first local dental anesthesia using procaine, also called Novocain, became available just one year later. Prior to that, nitrous oxide and the dangerous, toxic anesthetics ether and chloroform were the only forms of dental anesthesia.
Reasons for Dental Crowns
Crowns are generally used to protect a tooth, but the reasons for crowns are varied. Here are the most common ones:
- A very deep cavity
- Root canal
- Cracked or damaged tooth
A tooth with very deep decay may need a crown to support the large filling because so much of the natural tooth is gone. A crown will be the last step in a root canal procedure to preserve the look and function of the treated tooth. Amalgam fillings, often called silver fillings, although they’re not made of pure silver, contain mercury that will expand and contract as hot and cold foods and drinks are consumed. Sometimes, amalgam fillings can cause a tooth to crack over time, and this will also require a crown restoration. A tooth with a very small chip may be repairable, but any other kind of broken tooth will almost certainly need a crown. Crowns are used in bridgework, too. A bridge is a tooth or teeth made to fill the gap left by a missing tooth or teeth. The teeth on either side of the gap may need to be crowned to help hold the bridge in place.
The Dental Crown Procedure
Crowns are typically a two-step process. In the first step, the dentist first diagnoses the problem and identifies the need for the crown. The area is then anesthetized with a local anesthetic, and the dentist shapes the target tooth and prepares it for a temporary crown. You will be asked to bite down on an impression tray, which contains a soft, gooey substance, to obtain a template for making your permanent crown. The dentist then prepares a temporary crown and places it using special dental glue over the treated tooth to protect it while the dental laboratory makes your permanent crown.
This typically takes about two weeks. In the interim, you must be careful not to bite down on hard foods with the temporary crown in place. You will also need to floss in that area very carefully. When your permanent device is ready, the dentist will remove the temporary crown and replace it with the permanent one, this time using dental glue meant to last many years.
CEREC Dental Crowns
The advent of CEREC has eliminated the waiting period. Crowns can now be constructed and placed all in one appointment. An acronym for Chairside Economical Restoration of Esthetic Ceramics, CEREC uses CADCAM, or computer-aided design and computer-aided manufacturing, to design and create your crown all in one day. The CEREC software will use digital images of your jaw and teeth to produce a custom-fitted crown just like the dental laboratory would. but without the wait and return office visit and without the limitations of a temporary crown. CEREC crowns are typically made of porcelain, lack a metal core and match the color of your surrounding teeth so expertly it’s hard to tell it’s even a crown. Sometimes, metal-cored porcelain crowns can look unnatural because the crowned tooth may look darker than the surrounding natural ones when light is reflected off it at certain angles. This isn’t a problem with CEREC crowns. The materials used for CEREC resist abrasion and tend to last a long time. Your text to link…
The Cons of CEREC
CEREC does have two major disadvantages:
As you may expect, CEREC’s technology costs more than a standard crown. Of course, you must also consider the cost of your time and the fact that CEREC requires no return visit. If you can’t tolerate the removal of the temporary crown without a local anesthetic, and some people cannot, CEREC also spares you another injection. But, generally, CEREC can cost as much as one-third more of the out-of-pocket expense for the typically insured dental patient.
CEREC may not be offered by your dentist. The procedure requires intensive extra training, so not all dental offices provide CEREC services.
Here at Imagine Dental, we offer CEREC along with a full range of other dental services, such as preventive, periodontic, orthodontic, restorative, cosmetic and emergency dentistry. If you’re frightened of the dentist, it’s okay. Just let us know. We offer sedation dentistry, too, so you can have your dental work done in total comfort. We have two offices to serve you in the Phoenix and Ahwatukee areas. You can visit us here. We look forward to speaking with you