Blog Author: Dr. Aaron Dannegger, D.D.S.
Many people are familiar with the traditional process of getting a crown on their tooth. A crown is a dental restorative procedure that restores a tooth to good health with normal function and esthetics. There are many reasons for needing a crown such as a large cavity, fracture, replacement of a large broken down filling, or after having had a root canal procedure. In the traditional process of making a crown, the patient would need a first visit to the dentist to have the tooth prepared for a crown and then putty type molds or impressions would be taken of their teeth. A temporary crown would then be made and the patient would be rescheduled for another appointment about two weeks later. The impressions of the teeth would be sent to a dental lab for fabrication of the crown. At the second appointment, the temporary would be removed and the new crown would be checked and finally cemented or bonded onto the tooth.
A more modern and more convenient approach is to have a crown prepared, fabricated and bonded onto the tooth all in a single appointment that usually lasts less than 2 hours. Dr. Dannegger has been using a system called CEREC for many years to accomplish this. With the CEREC, the tooth is prepared for the specific type of crown and a video camera is used to take digital “ impressions” of the teeth. Through CAD/CAM technology the crown is able to be designed and fabricated in the dental office while the patient is present. The final step is to confirm the accuracy of the fit and bond the crown into place.
The single visit crown using CEREC offers many advantages over the traditional method of doing a crown. First and foremost is the convenience of having the procedure completed in one appointment. By doing the crown in a single appointment the patient obviously saves time, only needs to be numb once, and doesn’t have to wear a temporary crown at all. Another convenience is that there is no need for messy impressions or molds of the teeth. Many people find the making of those impressions to be troublesome and uncomfortable. The video camera used to take the digital “impressions” of the teeth is very quick and easy even for patients with the most sensitive gag reflexes. The CEREC system also allows Dr. Dannegger and his staff to have complete control over the design and fabrication process of the crown in the dental office. Any issues can be recognized and resolved immediately while the patient is still in the office. When the process is completed patients leave with a crown that looks, functions, and feels like a normal healthy tooth that fits and blends in with all their other teeth.