Annual Advancements in Medicine Section
Understanding Dental Crowns
Dental crowns are synthetic caps that are placed over damaged teeth to restore their shape and function. They can protect weak teeth from breaking, restore teeth that are already broken, or hold dental bridges in place. A crown can also be used to support a tooth that has had a root canal or to cover a dental implant.
Without crowns, teeth that are chipped, decayed, or fractured might result in toothache, tooth sensitivity, or pain while biting or chewing.
Advancements in dental technology have transformed the dental crown process. Previous methods required two visits – a first visit to create impressions and a second visit to place the new crown. Today, your dentist can place a crown in just one visit. Using computer-aided design and computer-aided manufacturing (CAD/CAM) technology, your dentist can scan your teeth electronically and create a custom crown on-site.
Studies have shown that CAD/CAM tooth restorations are just as successful as those made using traditional techniques. In fact, the technology can assist your dentist in preserving more of your existing tooth.
How It Works
The CAD/CAM same-day crown process involves five steps:
Preparation Before your new crown can be attached, your dentist will prep your tooth for the prosthesis by removing decay or affected tissue.
Scan Next, your dentist will scan your teeth to create a complete, three-dimensional model of your mouth. (Uncomfortable molding paste impressions are a thing of the past!)
Design Using computer software to review the 3-D model, your dentist will identify the proper design and fit for your prosthesis.
Production Once designed, the software will connect with an on-site milling machine to create a precise ceramic prosthesis that matches your natural teeth color.
Application Your new crown will be ready for application immediately. Your dentist will bond it to your tooth, polish it, and remove excess cement or debris.
Benefits to Patients
Same-day crowns add an ease to dental work that patients can appreciate. The need for multiple appointments is eliminated, thus time away from home or the office is reduced. Temporary crowns also become unnecessary. Perhaps most importantly, the design phase of the procedure is done chairside, so patients can see what their crown will look like, as well as how it will fit.