Dental technology has made enormous strides, giving dentists more skills and patients more treatment options. It can be difficult to know which option is best, particularly when choosing a dental crown.
A dental crown is a type of cap cemented on top of a damaged or broken tooth. A traditional dental crown can take days or weeks to be custom-made and fitted to your tooth, but CEREC crowns have changed that.
CEREC (Chairside Economical Restoration of Esthetic Ceramics) is a form of dental crown treatment where a porcelain crown is constructed based on a 3D image produced on-demand in a dental office. Understanding the CEREC crowns’ pros and cons can help you make the right decision for your oral health.
CEREC Crowns Pros and Cons: The Pros
CEREC crowns represent a true revolution in dental technology. Since their invention in 1983, they have greatly reduced the wait time for a permanent dental crown and have made getting a dental crown easier and more comfortable for many patients. Some of the benefits of dental crowns include:
CEREC crowns are less invasive and easier to place than traditional crowns. Previously, patients were required to schedule a preparatory visit where the dentist would take an impression of the broken tooth.
Impressions required a tray with alginate gum to be placed over the tooth for up to two minutes. This is a messy and often unpleasant process, particularly for patients with a gag reflex, as the tray can be quite large and uncomfortable in the mouth.
With CEREC crowns, that is no longer necessary. A camera can take a 3D scan of the broken tooth and generate a dental crown blueprint using the CEREC software. No mess, no discomfort, and significantly faster.
Faster treatment time
Previously the tooth would be prepared, then the dentist would fit a temporary dental crown, and the patient would need to wait 1-2 weeks for their permanent crown to be built in an off-site lab. These temporary crowns could be uncomfortable and could fall out while eating. If there were delays at the lab, this uncomfortable waiting time could be extended.
Now, you can have your custom crowns fitted in a single session. The milling machine typically takes around 15 minutes to fabricate your dental crown.
Custom-made for a realistic look
CEREC crowns are custom made for the patient on-demand, exactly when needed. These crowns are made out of natural-looking porcelain and can be colour matched to blend in with the other teeth seamlessly.
CEREC crowns are more accurately made too. The 3D imaging used as a blueprint for the crown is far more accurate than impressions, which can easily be done improperly, reducing the need for uncomfortable reworking.
In addition to the placement process, CEREC crowns are often longer-lasting than traditional dental crowns. The average porcelain crown lasts between 10-15 years on average, but a CEREC crown can last between 20-30 years. This, combined with the ease of placement, makes a CEREC crown a vastly superior option for most patients.
CEREC Crowns Pros and Cons: The Cons
Though CEREC crowns are a modern technology, they are not the right treatment for every patient. There are some drawbacks to CEREC crowns, and there are some reasons why a traditional dental crown might be a preferred option.
CEREC crowns can only be made out of porcelain. They are cut from a solid block of porcelain by a sophisticated machine. On the other hand, traditional dental crowns can be made out of a variety of materials.
Some materials, like porcelain-fused-to-metal or pure metal dental crowns, are tougher and more durable than CEREC crowns.
The metal can bond to the original tooth better and is more resistant to wear and tear caused by chewing action.
Not suitable for all tooth damage
CEREC crowns are not the best solution for repairing every type of tooth injury or issue. Unfortunately, the 3D imaging technology only works for the tooth’s surface. If the injury, breakage, or split extends below the gum line, the camera will not see the damage and cannot build a crown.
If X-rays show that the damage to the tooth extends below the gum line, a traditional dental crown may be the better solution.
Higher upfront cost
CEREC crowns are an impressive, modern technology, but they also cost more upfront. Given that CEREC crowns can last longer, they can be more economical over the lifespan of the dental crown. However, the higher upfront cost is something patients may wish to consider upfront when weighing the CEREC crowns’ pros and cons.
Are CEREC Crowns Right for Me?
CEREC crowns can be a good solution for teeth requiring dental crowns. Every patient will be different, and every tooth requires its own solution. Whether CEREC crowns are the right treatment option for you depends on your circumstances and what is wrong with your tooth.
Your dentist is the best resource for understanding your options for dental crowns. They can walk you through the differences between crown materials and placement techniques to help you understand which option might be the best for you.
The dentists at Lakeside Dental offer both CEREC and traditional dental crowns. They can help you understand CEREC crowns’ pros and cons and which would be better for your tooth. We can assist you with all your dental needs and treat all patients with kindness, skill, and professionalism.
Note: Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.
Comparison and evaluation of the morphology of crowns generated by biogeneric design technique with CEREC chairside system
Long-term clinical results of chairside CEREC CAD/CAM inlays and onlays: a case series