A traditional dental crown will take two appointments, sometimes more if something doesn’t go quite right. The tooth is prepared on the first appointment, and an impression is taken and sent to a dental laboratory. People aren’t usually very fond of the impression, because it is with a messy paste that has to sit in your mouth for several minutes while it sets. Then, two or three weeks later, the crown comes back from the lab for cementing on your tooth. Meanwhile, you have to wear a temporary crown. The temporary is sometimes uncomfortable, and, since it is made so that it can be removed easily, it can sometimes come off at inconvenient times. But using CEREC crown technology, Dr. Vargas can mill a ceramic crown for you while you wait.
CEREC Porcelain Crowns
CEREC crowns are milled by the CEREC machine from a strong ceramic material called lithium disilicate. While this ceramic has a natural color and translucency, since the crown is made from a single block it is monochromatic rather than tinted with various shades like natural teeth. So a CEREC crown will look great on a back tooth, but may not have a refined enough appearance for a front tooth. They can be made in about ten to fifteen minutes and placed the same appointment. Dr. Vargas has flat screen TVs in every operatory, so you can watch your favorite Netflix or Hulu show while you wait.
Another convenience is that with CEREC crowns there is no need for a messy traditional impression. The CEREC machine uses CAD/CAM technology (computer-aided design/computer-aided manufacturing) to streamline the crown-making process. Once your teeth are numbed and prepared, an optical impression of your tooth is taken with an intra-oral camera and uploaded to the CAD/CAM software to make your crown.
Do I Need a Crown?
If your tooth is missing a large area of the biting surface due to damage, decay, or previous metal fillings, Dr. Vargas may recommend a crown. Our mercury-free composite fillings will work for small amounts of damage, but larger jobs call for stronger solutions. A crown will strengthen your tooth and protect it against fracturing.
Thanks to modern dental bonding technology, crowns can be made from pure porcelain or other strong ceramics, allowing for a more natural appearance. Many dental offices offer porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns, which are covered by most dental insurances but not natural looking. Dental Loft offers ceramic crowns made with newer high-strength ceramics. Because they are metal-free, they look more natural.
Additional Types of Porcelain Crowns
The type of crown we recommend depends on your individual case and where the crown is placed in your mouth. For crowns in the back of your mouth (posterior), we offer CEREC crowns milled from high-strength lithium disilicate.
Crowns made of pure porcelain, while they aren’t as strong, are another option. They get their strength by being bonded to the underlying tooth. They are a great choice for your front teeth, but may be too weak to withstand the demands on a back tooth.
A better option for teeth on front teeth would be e.max or Lava crowns.
E.max crowns are made from a lithium disilicate core. This is then veneered with porcelain for a higher level of aesthetics, but with the strength of lithium disilicate. Dr. Vargas likes to use these for front teeth.
Lava crowns are also available. These are made with the same concept as e.max crowns, but the core is zirconia, which is then veneered with porcelain.
Pure Zirconia Crowns
Zirconia is exceptionally strong, so strong it is also known as “ceramic steel.” However, since it is also milled from a single block of ceramic, it is less aesthetically pleasing than pure porcelain. Natural teeth vary in color, being darker near the gumline. Since the block of ceramic is a solid color, there are no color gradations. The aesthetics, though, are fine for back teeth. If you are a bruxer who grinds your teeth, Dr. Vargas may recommend pure zirconia crowns for back teeth and zirconia veneered with porcelain for front teeth.
For some anterior restorations, we may also recommend dental composite bonding using Bioclear. For more information about our minimally invasive Bioclear restorations, please visit our Bioclear page.
If you are interested in a same-day crown you can fill out an appointment form or call us to set up an examination.