The short answer is yes! The long, detailed answer is the topic of this blog.
Dental crowns are necessary for many different reasons. A crown’s purpose is to rebuild a tooth back to its proper shape and function. Teeth with large cavities or fillings that cover more than half of a tooth must be rebuilt with dental crowns. Crowns are also necessary to repair teeth with cracks or fractures. Because root canal treatments can make teeth brittle and more likely to break, crowns are also used to cover teeth with root canals.
What do traditional crowns and same-day crowns have in common?
Both traditional crowns and same-day crowns require your dentist to “prepare” the tooth for the crown. When we prepare a tooth for a crown, we remove enamel so that the crown can completely cover the tooth and not be too bulky or tall. The preparation of the tooth is the same for both traditional and same-day crowns.
The process of fitting and cementing the final crown onto the prepared tooth is also the same for both traditional and same-day crowns.
The difference is in how the crown is made.
What do traditional crowns involve?
The traditional way to make a dental crown involves a two-appointment process. The preparation of the tooth described above takes place during the first appointment. The dentist and his assistant will make a mold or 3D scan of the prepared tooth and send it to a dental laboratory. The laboratory recreates the prepared tooth and builds the dental crown from the prescribed material. Traditional crowns often use gold or other metals, porcelain, or a porcelain-colored metal called zirconia.
In many cases, the dental lab technician makes the traditional dental crowns by hand. Interestingly, a new trend in dental labs has them using the same three-dimensional milling technologies we use in our same-day crowns!
While all of this lab work is going on (for about 2-3 weeks), a temporary crown covers your prepared tooth. The dental assistant typically makes a temporary crown from an acrylic or plastic material to cover the tooth, seal out any sensitivity, and hold everything in its proper position.
You return for a second dental visit to have the temporary crown removed, the prepared tooth cleaned, and the final crown fitted. This second visit is relatively quick, usually about 30 minutes.
What are same-day crowns?
Same-day crowns are crowns made in our office while you wait. We have invested in a system that uses CAD/CAM technology to create a perfectly fitted dental crown from a digital 3D model of your prepared tooth.
The process to prepare the tooth is exactly the same for a same-day crown as for the traditional type. The difference is that you stay right where you are while the crown is made! Your tooth stays numb, so you do not feel any discomfort. You can read a book or continue enjoying your movie or music. Basically, you just relax while the dentist and dental assistant work their magic.
First we digitally design the crown to fit your prepared tooth with our CAD/CAM software. Once finalized, we send that design to the milling machine, which uses tiny drills to create a crown to the exact specifications from a block of porcelain.
Both the software and milling machine deliver precision! This leads to a comfortable fit with the exact dimensions specified by your dentist.
After milling, we polish the crown in our in-house dental lab. This creates a beautiful porcelain crown that blends in perfectly with your smile. Then we return to you with your new crown, fit it to the prepared tooth, and affix it to your tooth with a dental cement.
In one visit, the entire process is complete!
What are the advantages to same-day crowns?
- One dental appointment – Rather than taking time off work or out of your busy schedule for two dental visits, a same-day crown only requires one visit. We respect your time, and a same-day dental crown is the most efficient way to rebuild a tooth!
- No temporary crowns – If you’ve ever experienced temporary crowns, you know they can be annoying, uncomfortable, or downright painful. And you have to wear them for a minimum of two weeks. During that time, they often loosen or fall off completely. This can lead to tooth sensitivity or shifting of the tooth’s position. With a same-day crown, you never have to wear a temporary crown!
Greater accuracy – The process for making a same-day crown is all digital. The scanning technology, the crown design software, and the milling machine are accurate down to tenths of a millimeter. This level of precision leads to a better fitting crown, which means a more comfortable crown. Studies have shown that this accuracy also leads to higher long-term success rates!
- Designed and made in-house – As described above, the process of making a same-day crown all takes place right in our office. The dentist, who knows your tooth, your bite, and your smile the best, is the one who designs your crown. This leads to the best-looking and best-fitting crown possible.
Do you need a crown?
Many people know they need dental treatment, including crowns. With same-day crowns, we can fit your dental work into your busy schedule. Call today to schedule a consultation with one of our dentists.