Crowns are typically used to protect teeth that have been damaged or compromised due to fracture, decay, and/or root canals. They provide circumferential support to the entire tooth structure above the gumline.
CEREC (one visit crowns, fabricated in-office):
CEREC technology has drastically changed the process of getting a crown. Patients with busy schedules or are in need of a quicker solution to a broken tooth appreciate being able to leave the same day with their permanent crown. The process involves preparing the tooth for the crown which is then digitally imaged and integrated with images of your bite. The CEREC computer will then take this information to make a custom design of a crown for your tooth. The CEREC CAD/CAM Robotic Milling Machine will then construct your crown out of a solid block of the strongest ceramic on the market (E-MAX). Your permanent crown is bonded and you leave the office without having had an impression and no plastic temporary crown.** Partial coverage crowns (onlays) are also available in CEREC, please see below for a description.
Lab made crowns:
There are some instances where lab made crowns are a more desirable option than the CEREC crowns. If a tooth cannot be imaged by the CEREC camera, whether it is due to limited opening or crowns extending below the gumline, we can get a better fit crown using an impression and lab-made crown. On anterior (front) teeth, we may desire the artistry of the human hand to make a beautiful porcelain crown that just can't be done with the CEREC machine. Lastly, if a patient has a very strong bite and requires a crown with a metal substructure, these must be lab-made. Below are the different options available for lab-made crowns.
All Porcelain Crowns & Veneers:
All porcelain crowns and veneers are easily the most esthetic option available. Porcelain, being a glass based substance, is very brittle. This limits our use of all porcelain crowns to anterior (front) teeth in patients that do not have excessively strong bites.
All Ceramic Crowns:
Due to huge scientific advancements in dental lab technologies, we now have ceramics strong enough to sustain the powerful forces of chewing on molars. These crowns, while extremely strong, are also highly esthetic. Being all ceramic, without porcelain, they tend to have a lower incidence of fracture.
Porcelain Fused to Gold Crowns:
This type of crown gives us the best of both worlds: high strength due to the gold metal substructure with the highly esthetic coating of porcelain. These can be used on any tooth in the mouth. The gold substructure can be completely masked by the porcelain, so they can appear as if you never had any dental work done. In some patients with excessively strong bites, we opt to cover the chewing surface of the crown with the gold so that risk of porcelain fracture is much less.
Full Gold Crowns:
Due to the extremely high cost of gold, we only do these crowns on molars in patients with short teeth and very strong bites. Ceramic and porcelain based crowns require a certain thickness for adequate strength. If a tooth is short, there will not be enough room for the ceramic or porcelain AND enough height for the crown to be able to "hold on" to the tooth.
Partial Coverage Crowns (Onlays):
Sometimes when teeth fracture or have decay that compromises only a part of the tooth, we can place a partial coverage crown that only replaces the damaged portion of the tooth. These can be done either as CEREC crowns or lab-made.
**CEREC technology is not yet available in all Light Dental Studios offices. Please inquire.