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Why Dental Crowns Don’t Have to Be a Royal Pain

Why Dental Crowns Don’t Have to Be a Royal Pain

Okay, we get it. The only time you really want to hear “You’re going to need a crown,” is when you’re finally being recognized for being so darn regal, not when you’re at the dentist. But sometimes, it’s just unavoidable -- one or more of your teeth will be beyond just getting a simple filling and you’ll need to have a crown affixed.

The good news is that crowns -- sometimes referred to as caps -- have come quite a long way. Let’s take a look at the process of having a crown put in place, as well as some of the fascinating advances that have made these dental solutions more beneficial to patients than ever before.

The Low-Down on Your Dental Crown.

Dentists turn to crowns when other restorative techniques simply won't get the job done. Some instances of when a crown might be put in place include:

  • To protect a weak tooth (for instance, from decay) from breaking or to hold together parts of a cracked tooth

  • To cover and support a tooth that has a large filling when there isn't a lot of tooth left

  • To hold a dental bridge in place

  • To cover misshapen or severely discolored teeth

  • To cover a dental implant

  • To make a cosmetic modification

Your Crown. Your Way.

CEREC® Crown

While it’s not nearly the same as ordering a hamburger just the way you like it, there are choices when it comes to getting a dental crown.  Here’s a snapshot of both to help you decide which is best for you.

Traditional: If you choose to get a traditional porcelain crown, the procedure done will take two appointments. During the first appointment, your dentist will take an impression of the tooth that will be covered to make a great-fitting crown.  Then, your dentist will place a temporary crown over your tooth while you wait for about two to three weeks for your actual crown to be produced. Then, on your second appointment, you’ll have the crown put into place.

3D: If you go the time-saving 3D crown route (for example a CEREC® crown), you can get your crown fitted and affixed in just one appointment. First, your dentist will use a special camera to get a precise 3D photo of the tooth needing the crown. Then, this image is loaded directly into the CEREC machine to create your crown. This type of crown also uses porcelain with a color that has been matched exactly to your other teeth for a more natural smile.

While both methods have their advantages (aesthetic control of traditional vs. time-saving ability of the 3D process) in a 2014 piece for Harvard Business Review, consultant Saul Kaplan wrote that he became convinced of 3-D printing's value when his dentist took an impression with a digital camera, created a crown with a CNC milling device and implanted the prosthodontic -- in a matter of minutes.

So, even though heavy is the head that wears the crown (according to ‘ol Will Shakespeare, any way), new technology has certainly lightened the burden for the rest of us -- who may simply be seeking a dental crown.

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