June 1, 2015
Would it surprise you that we use something in our dental practice (Lapalco Family Dental in Marrero, LA) that is 2,000 years old on an almost daily basis? It’s true! We use porcelain to make our crowns. Why porcelain? Porcelain is very durable, stain-resistant, and is also the material that most closely approximates the appearance of your natural teeth. Porcelain was invented during the Han Dynasty in China, and made its way to Europe in the 16th century. The word “porcelain” comes from the Italian word porcellana, a type of translucent sea shell. In dentistry, porcelain has never been surpassed in terms of performance and aesthetic value.
It’s somewhat ironic then that to make our porcelain crowns, we use some of the most advanced technology available in dentistry. The CEREC Same Day Crowns system combines the advantages of porcelain which have been known for millennia with cutting edge advancements in the fields of digital imaging, automated manufacturing, and software. The crowns that are made using CEREC are more accurately designed and more durable, capable of saving teeth that at one time could only be addressed with an extraction by an oral surgeon.
On top of all these advantages, CEREC Same Day Crowns are fast. Traditionally, getting a dental crown place was a procedure that would take weeks to complete. You’d need two appointments: one to have your dental impression made (which is used to design the crown for your teeth) and one to have it placed. During the weeks in between, your crown would be fabricated at a specialized lab outside of the practice.
Besides being inconvenient for patients, all that waiting is dangerous. Because crowns usually take so long to make, you would have a temporary crown placed to provide basic protection for your tooth. These temporary crowns are very prone to breakage, and if this happens (more often than you might think) your tooth is now vulnerable to infection. This usually can only be treated with a root canal (which is likely why you’re getting the crown in the first place)!
How Does CEREC Make Crowns So Fast?
CEREC cuts out all the time it usually takes a crown; a procedure that took weeks now only takes a single appointment with CEREC. CEREC is an acronym (like AWOL, NAFTA, or SWOT) that stands for Chairside Economical Restoration of Esthetic Ceramics. It’s a bit of a mouthful, so here’s what it means in plain English:
Chairside Economical Restoration: The entire fabrication (or “milling”) process takes place in your dentist’s office. There is no need to send away for a crown to be made. It is economical in terms of time and the materials needed to fabricate the crown, which is technically referred to as a dental restoration.
Esthetic Ceramics: simply refers to the porcelain from which CEREC Same Day Crowns are made. Porcelain is a type of ceramic, and it is unmatched in terms of performing the functions of your natural teeth, as well as how it looks in relation to your natural teeth.
How Your CEREC Crown is Designed
CEREC Same Day Crowns are custom made for your specific teeth, like all other crowns. However, CEREC achieves this in a way that is very different from traditional methods.
In a traditional crown placement, the first thing that your dentist will do is create an impression; similar to a mold, an impression is a physical “picture” of your oral cavity and teeth in three dimensions. These are useful, but the chance for error is high (for example, if the mold is taken incorrectly) and because the impressions are solid objects (and are relatively large in size) they usually cannot be stored, in case your crown is damaged due to injury.
CEREC uses advanced imaging technology to create a digital impression. Digital impressions are much more accurate than physical ones, can be stored, duplicated, and transmitted easily. Most importantly, a digital impression can be read by a computer.
The digital impression is sent to a computer, where powerful CAD/CAM software (Computer Aided Design/Computer Aided Manufacturing) interprets the impression, and generates a design for your crown. This process produces designs that are so accurate, we are now able to save teeth that were once considered unsalvageable; even teeth that have been injured and are broken very near the gum line.
Once your dentist has gone over the design and made any necessary changes or additions, the final design is sent to an automatic fast-milling machine. Instead of a human spending hours doing painstaking, slow work, the automatic fast-milling machine quickly turns a block of porcelain into your crown in minutes. Once the milling process is complete, your crown can be placed immediately.
All of this saves you precious time and protects you from the risk of a tooth infection.
Are You Ready for the Next Generation of Dental Technology?
If your tooth has been damaged due to injury, tooth decay, or if it is recommended that you receive endodontic therapy (root canal), you need to get a crown. Don’t settle for waiting weeks when it can be done in an hour!
Call us to make an appointment at 504-264-6461, or click here to reach our online appointment form and book your visit right now!