You are rather fond of having teeth. They help you chew after all, and who isn’t a fan of eating food that requires chewing? But there’s this one tooth that keeps giving you so much pain. Maybe you’ve had it filled (or maybe you still need to), but that isn’t working any longer. You can have it removed, but then you’d be missing a tooth. And you’re not ready for dental implants or anything more serious.
Maybe it’s time for a crown.
What is a crown?
A staple of restorative dentistry, crowns provide stability and reinforcement for teeth that are decayed, overly worn, or traumatized. What’s a traumatized tooth? It’s a tooth that has suffered an injury as a result of an accident, such as a sports injury or a motor vehicle accident.
Crowns can help preserve teeth and sometimes prevent the need for a root canal or extraction. In other words, crowns help you keep your teeth—those wonderful little things that help you chew your favorite meals—longer. Most crowns cover the visible parts of your tooth from the gum-line up. This means that crowns are not only tooth-savers, but a good crown will enhance your smile. A crown will cover any discoloration, chips, fillings, and other unattractive features. This coverage is especially beneficial in the case of highly-visible front teeth. But don’t worry! We’ll match it to the color of your other teeth so it doesn’t look out of place in your smile.
Additionally, crowns can aid you in keeping your teeth free from further decay. It’s kind of like slowing time down to a crawl for the tooth with the crown. That is, if you get a really well-made, custom-fitted crown.
There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all crown. Each crown must be individually fabricated for your unique tooth. This process requires precise measurements of your teeth as well as the skill, equipment, and training to craft the crown. Most dentists don’t have the technology, skills, or equipment to do this in their office. They need to send the measurements off to specialized laboratories where other technicians work on making a crown to fit your tooth and mouth. This process takes a couple of visits and a few weeks.
But with Dr. Farless, you can have your crown in one visit. He offers same-day crowns through the CEREC® system.
Dr. Farless starts by taking a look at the tooth that brought you to him. He talks to you and listens to when that tooth is causing you the most pain, and then he determines the best solution. If you do need a crown, he’ll prepare the tooth for a crown and then he can prepare your crown right there in his office. This is especially helpful in getting a perfect crown that won’t change your bite.
Does it sound too good to be true? Maybe you’ve never heard of same day crowns and you’re wondering if it really is a good way to do a crown or if it’s just about convenience. Should you insist on a lab-created crown anyway? Keep reading, and then decide.
The average cost of a crown varies depending on where you go to get one. But according to the American Dental Association’s 2018 survey, the average cost of a crown for North Carolina is $1240. And that average is about the same for both a same-day crown and a lab-created crown.
While the price tag is similar for both types of crowns, you’ll be saving yourself time by only needing to see Dr. Farless once to have the crown placed.
Have you ever had a mold of your mouth and teeth taken before? If so, you know just how fun it isn’t. Imagine a mouthguard being inserted into your mouth with both the upper and lower guards filled to overflowing with gooey, odd-tasting goop. Now hold that in your mouth for about a minute. Getting an impression mold of your teeth is kind of like that.
That mold is what would be sent to a laboratory for them to create your crown. The accuracy of that mold depends on a few factors such as:
- The quality of the molding material.
- The skill of the person taking the mold.
- The amount of saliva in your mouth the moment it’s placed.
And that laboratory using the mold to make your crown is completely dependent on the mold and the measurements sent to them. They don’t have you on hand to check the fit.
With a lab-created crown, you’d go to your dentist. After taking a look, a little work, and getting a mold, you’d receive a temporary crown to hold you over until your new one comes in. The problem with that is most temporary crowns are far from a perfect fit. So you might continue to have discomfort, and you really are supposed to shift the bulk of your chewing to the other side of your mouth while you’re wearing a temporary crown. If that crown becomes dislodged for even a short moment of time, your tooth in its fragile state can shift. That shifting will cause even more discomfort. We’ve even heard reports of patients getting bits of food lodged in the temporary crown.
With a same-day crown, there are no molds and no temporary crowns. After completing 3D imaging of your mouth, your dentist can have your new crown ready to place in as little as a half an hour.
The type of material used for a lab-created crown varies from lab to lab. Porcelain, ceramic, other resin materials, or metals are the most commonly used types of materials.
For a CEREC same-day crown, the type of material is in the name. CEREC stands for Chairside Economical Restoration of Esthetic Ceramics—we use ceramic lithium disilicate (also called Emax), specifically. Why ceramic? It’s easy to mill and it’s durable. It’s also a great solution for anyone with certain metal allergies.
Ceramic is one of the most durable materials available for crowns. Ceramic made from lithium disilicate (which is what we use) is super tough. There’s an added bonus to ceramic too, which is that it is easy to manipulate to match the look of the rest of your teeth. So how long will a CEREC crown last you? Just as it would with a traditional crown, the answer to that depends largely on you.
Do you have any teeth-grinding issues? Are you caring for your teeth and getting regular cleanings? What is the state of your teeth and gums currently?
Many factors work together to either preserve or wear down your teeth and any crowns. But in the absence of teeth-grinding issues, you can expect to get 10 to 15 years out of your CEREC crown. Most lab-created crowns are expected to last roughly the same amount of time.
While you’re getting a crown because you want your teeth to look nice as well as function, there is an additional benefit. Restorative dentistry will help protect your overall mouth health. And protecting your mouth will help your whole body.
When we have an injury or illness, our body is programmed to respond by triggering a cascade of first-aid, life-saving processes. You’ve heard a lot about inflammation over your lifetime probably. When you have an injured, damaged, or decaying tooth, the inflammatory response is triggered. And inflammation is a helpful, protective process, for sure. But the on-switch for inflammation shouldn’t be left on for forever. It does degrade our health over a long period of time.
So don’t wait any longer. Choose the crown you think is the best fit for you.
- CEREC Online. “Case Studies.” www.cereconline.com/education-case-studies
- Dentsply Sirona. “CEREC Zirconia.” https://www.dentsplysirona.com/en-au/solutions/topics/single-visit-dentistry-with-cerec/advantages/zirconia.html
- Kolata, G. “A New Tooth, Made to Order in Under an Hour.” The New York Times. Oct 8, 2012.