Dental crowns are a versatile restoration option for damaged teeth. They’re custom-made to fit your mouth, meaning that it takes a bit of time to create them and ensure they’re just right. New technology, though, is making the practice of lab-generated crowns almost obsolete.
Dr. Raul Molina places a lot of dental crowns at his practice in Miami, Florida. Previously, he would send a physical impression out to the lab to fabricate the new tooth cap. Now, though, he has the advantage of CEREC technology, which allows him to manufacture the crowns right in the office while you wait. No second appointments or temporary crowns are needed.
The crowning achievement
Though dental crowns may be best known for capping a tooth after a root canal, they have many other uses. Dr. Molina uses crowns to shore up a tooth that’s cracked or weakened, reshape worn-down teeth to provide a new appearance and chewing surface, and serve as anchors to which dental bridges can be bonded.
Traditional crowns require two appointments. At the first, Dr. Molina preps the tooth that needs the crown by shaving material off the top and sides to allow for snug placement of the restoration. Then, he takes an impression of both your top and bottom teeth with a special putty and sends it to the lab so that they can manufacture the crown to fit your mouth. When the crown comes back, you make the second appointment. Dr. Molina fits the crown on the tooth, ensures a proper fit, and cements it in place.
It’s a time-tested process, but it means more time in the dental chair, a mouth filled with goo that makes you gag, and an increase in dental anxiety, if you’re prone to it.
CEREC technology — faster and better
CEREC is an acronym:
- Chairside: the technology goes to work while you’re in the chair
- Economical: digital procedure is more economical for both dentist and patient
- Restorations: restores tooth to its previous appearance, function, and strength
- Esthetic: crowns are metal-free and tooth-colored
- Ceramic: uses high-strength ceramics close in composition to your natural tooth structure
Dentists around the world have been using this technology since 1987. It performs all the functions of a traditional dental crown, but it takes less time and money.
Dr. Molina starts the restoration process, whether it’s a root canal, a bridge, or large filling, just as he would with a traditional crown placement. But that’s where the similarity ends. Instead of using a physical mold, he takes an optical impression (digital picture) of your tooth and uploads it to the CEREC machine.The 3D software converts the image into a virtual model on the computer screen, which is a more accurate image than a physical impression can make, and he designs the restoration right within the program.
Next, he sends the design data to a separate milling machine, also located right in the office, and selects a ceramic block that most closely matches your tooth’s color. In no more than 10-20 minutes, the milling is done, and the crown is ready to be placed and bonded in your mouth. After Dr. Molina ensures that all is well with your new crown, you’re free to go. That’s it!
If you need dental restorations but don’t have the time or the patience to wait weeks for your results, CEREC technology is right for you. To learn more, and to schedule a consultation with Dr. Molina, give the office a call at (305) 614-0211, or book online with us today.