People need crowns for their teeth all the time. Things happen – whether via a root canal procedure or an accident. The process used to be very time-consuming, with several visits needed. That’s not the case anymore. The dentist may recommend getting a crown via CEREC technology. It’s simple and everything, from start to finish, can be done right there in the dentist’s office in one stay.
While this sounds fairly new, this technology has been around for several decades. It’s widely used now.
First things first… where does the name CEREC even come from? It’s an acronym for Chairside Economical Restoration of Esthetic Ceramics. The whole process uses CAD/CAM (Computer-Aided Design/Computer-Aided Manufacturing) technology. It’s actually been around for a while, with the first iteration of it being launched in 1987. The Swiss were the first to start developing it, with the staff at the University of Zurich beginning development in 1980.
There have been several updates to the software and hardware over the decades since then – technology has been moving in leaps and bounds. The current version was unveiled in 2012, along with the intraoral camera, which allows dentists to not have to use powder and also enables them to get their digital impressions in natural color.
This is different from the traditional way where the dentist would numb the area, file down the tooth, and take an impression… and then have to wait two weeks for the new crown to come back.
Nowadays, it’s pretty straightforward. After taking X-rays and concluding that a crown is, indeed, needed, the dentist will take images of the patient’s mouth with an intraoral camera. All kinds of measurements are taken and then everything is then sent to the in-house dental lab, where the CEREC machine is set up. The following process takes a mere 15 minutes or so.
The CEREC machine then takes a ceramic block and mills the tooth from it, using all the calculations from the digital imagery. It’s extremely precise, down to the millimeter. It then shades the tooth and it’s ready to be inserted into the mouth.
There may be a bit of tooth sensitivity involved afterwards. It’s usually short-lived, a few days at most. Anything that lasts longer merits a dental visit to ensure that there is not any problem going on under the crown. It’s best that the patient avoid eating chewy or sticky food in the days afterward. They should brush twice a day and floss daily to keep their oral hygiene at its best. Regular dental visits are needed to monitor how the crown is doing.
The best benefit, of course, is the fact that the crown can be made in a single visit. No need to have to wait for a couple of weeks. The dentist uses the intraoral camera to get images that then allow them to translate that to the CEREC machine and have them get the shape and color of the crown to match exactly what is in the patient’s mouth. Everything will feel natural. They will get the best out of customization.
As far as durability goes, the CEREC crown can last roughly as long as a crown done the traditional way – roughly 10-15 years before needing to be replaced. That’s with proper care, of course.
Another benefit is that it most often does not cost more than the other way of creating crowns. That’s very helpful to patients’ wallets. Not only do they not have to make multiple visits, which result in multiple co-pays, they don’t have to shell out more. That makes everyone happy.
Sometimes there’s an issue with bonding. Traditional crowns can bond a bit better, but in the hands of a skilled professional, the difference between the two can be negligible. The skill of the dentist putting in the crown is key, though. Also, if close attention is not paid to brushing and flossing, then more damage and possible infection can occur below the gumline.
Ultimately, it’s up to the patient and the dentist to decide whether to do a CEREC crown or a traditional one. It’s an individual matter that should be looked at in a case-by-case view.
Dr. Shaista Najmi and the staff at Ivory Dental Jacksonville are quite skilled at CEREC. They will make sure that it ill suit your needs and that you will get the best benefits. You can contact them today to make an appointment – 904-998-1555 – they will be more than happy to answer any questions then.