The CEREC crown procedure
When you are getting a CEREC crown, the procedure involves heavy use of computers in almost every step of the treatment.
From design to manufacturing, computers will make sure that everything is going as planned.
The result is a great quality crown, that fits into your mouth perfectly.
Even though the technology is relatively new, it has been perfected for over three decades.
Everything from tooth preparation to fixing the final crown is done in just a single appointment, within a few hours.
CEREC stands for Chairside Economical Restoration of Esthetic Ceramics or CEramic REConstruction.
This is how a CEREC crown procedure usually looks like:
- Your dentist prepares your tooth for the crown. This part is basically the same for both traditional and same-day crowns.
- Your dentist uses a special camera - called an intraoral camera - to take several 3D images of the prepared tooth and the neighboring teeth. Unlike traditional crowns, no impression is needed. The camera is smaller than the point of a ball pen and is comfortable.
- With the help of a computer, your dentist designs a digital 3D image of your tooth and crown with precise measurements. The design is edited for things like indentations, ridges, pits, and fissures to make sure the crown will fit perfectly.
- Once the final design is ready, a milling machine carves a replica of the design to make a crown out of a single ceramic block. It takes only a few minutes for preparing the crown.
- Once the crown is milled, your dentist glues it to your tooth.
A short but very informative overview of the CEREC crown procedure. Duration: 1:24.
What are the advantages of CEREC crowns?
By far the greatest advantage of CEREC crowns is that the entire procedure can be finished in one day.
You visit your dentist and after a few hours, you walk home with your nice, new permanent crown.
Besides that, CEREC crowns are durable, can last for 10-15 years, and are reasonably appealing esthetically.
Advantages of CEREC crowns:
- Save you time: There is no need for additional appointments as same-day crowns are done in a single sitting.
- Save you money: You save on appointment costs and the cost of a temporary crown. In addition, you need to take less time off work. CEREC crowns usually don't cost more than other ceramic crowns, like zirconia or E-max
- Comfortable: No impression pastes are needed, no temporary crowns, less sensitivity after the procedure.
- Metal-free: CEREC crowns are ceramic crowns, you can have this crown even if you are allergic to metals
- Prevent injury: In the case of traditional crowns, your dentist gives a temporary crown until the permanent crown is ready. But, temporary crowns do not fit well and may become loose or even fall out. Same-day crowns eliminate such problems as they are fitted immediately.
- Tooth friendly: Same day crowns also keep your tooth stronger as they require less drilling and save more of your tooth.
- Prevent decay: Dislodged temporary crowns may make room for decay.
- Restores function immediately: Teeth alter your speech, smile, and eating patterns. Same-day crowns restore all these functions on the same day.
What are the disadvantages of CEREC crowns?
Though CEREC crowns don't have major disadvantages, there are still a few factors your dentist considers before making a decision:
Traditional crowns give you a more esthetic smile. Though same-day crowns replicate your tooth precisely, lab-made traditional crowns can perfect your smile.
If you need the crown for a front tooth, zirconia or E-max crown made by a dental technician might give you a better smile. This is something you need to discuss with your dentist in case you need restoration in the anterior region.
Fractures below the gum line
If there is a fracture below the gum line, traditional crowns may fit better. The intraoral camera may not be able to capture a precise image below the gum line.
Not every dentist is experienced
Manufacturing CEREC crowns require a CAD/CAM machine, which not all dentists have.
Even if a dentist has a milling device, you'd better make sure he/she is fairly experienced with this technology. Making high-quality same-day crowns requires some extra training and experience from the dentist.
Comparing traditional and CEREC crowns
Impression vs. digital planning
In the case of traditional crowns, your dentist takes an impression of your teeth with a putty like material.
For CEREC crowns a camera is used in this step. This is not only more affordable and faster but also environmentally friendly, as no material is used to make the impression (except for the camera, but that can be re-used for many crowns).
Lab work vs. milling machine
In the case of traditional crowns, your dentist sends the impression of your tooth to the lab for preparing a customized crown for you. This process could take a few weeks and you need another appointment when the crown is ready.
Cerec crowns are manufactured in the dentist's office, the waiting time is only about 1 hour.
Temporary crown vs. no temporary crown
In the case of traditional crowns, your dentist glues a temporary crown to protect your teeth until the permanent crown is ready.
The temporary crown is made of resin and may not be that comfortable as it won’t fit perfectly. You will also need to follow diet restrictions or else the temporary crown may fall off when you chew certain types of foods.
No temporary crown is required for same-day crowns.
Two appointments vs. one appointment
In the case of traditional crowns, during the second appointment, when the crown is ready, your dentist checks the fit of your crown, makes minor adjustments as needed, and glues the crown to your tooth.
In some cases, the crown may not fit well. In such cases, your dentist sends it to the lab again and you will need another appointment for fixing it.
There is no next appointment if you get a same-day crown...
How much does a CEREC crown cost?
The average price of a CEREC crown in the United States is around $1000 - $1500. This means same-day crowns usually cost about the same as traditional ceramic crowns.
In the United Kingdom prices start around £350-£400. People in Canada generally pay as much as US people, while in Australia prices might be a bit higher.
Even though the equipment used to manufacture these crowns is state-of-the-art and quite expensive, the fact that there are no dental lab costs, no temporary crown, and only one appointment is needed (less time in the chair) helps to reduce the price.
Here is a rough price estimate of CEREC crowns in various countries:
- United States: $1,000 - $1,500
- United Kingdom: £400 - £800
- Canada: $1,000 - $1,500
- Australia: $1,100 - $1,600
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Frequently asked questions
Are CEREC crowns better than traditional crowns?
CEREC crowns have their pros and cons, they are neither better nor worse than traditional crowns. Discuss your preferences with your dentist and listen to his / her professional advice before making a decision.
What material is used for CEREC crowns?
CEREC crowns are usually manufactured from a single block of ceramic material. This makes the crown highly esthetic and durable, with no dark crown margins, no allergic reactions.
Do CEREC crowns and same-day crowns mean the same thing?
No. A CAD/CAM machine is used to manufacture a crown during a single visit. There are a few companies offering this technology. CEREC is developed by Dentsply Sirona, and it has by far the largest market share.
How long do CEREC crowns last?
The average lifespan of a dental crown is around 5-15 years. With proper care, crowns can last a lot longer than this.
Does my dentist offer CEREC crowns?
Not every dentist does same-day crowns. The CAD/CAM device itself is quite expensive (costs north of $100,000) and it requires some education and experience to be able to use the device.
The most recent estimate we saw showed that about 10% of US dentists offer same-day crowns.
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Computer-aided dentistry is getting better and more popular nowadays. More and more restorations are done using this technique.
Not only crowns, but veneers also can be manufactured using the same-day CAD/CAM technology.