Imagine you are enjoying a nice dinner when you feel your tooth chip. You feel a hard, gritty piece of tooth in your mouth. Maybe you also feel pain. You may dread the inconvenience, expense and month-long wait involved in getting a new crown for your tooth.
You may be debating on same day crowns versus traditional crowns, but relief may be one dental visit away if your dentist offers same-day crowns. Otherwise, you may have to wait a month for a new crown. It is bad enough to suffer discomfort from a broken, chipped or a cracked tooth for even one day!
What are Same Day Crowns?
A dental crown is a “cap” that fits over your tooth. It looks like a tooth, and it is typically made of porcelain or gold. Same day crowns are made of porcelain. The crown encases your existing tooth right to the gum line.
Dentists prescribe crowns to reinforce a weak tooth, repair chipped or cracked teeth, to hold a dental bridge in position, to improve the tooth’s appearance, or for a variety of other reasons. Some crowns are emergencies such as the example where someone breaks a tooth while eating. Other crowns correct chronic, long-term damage such as teeth that are worn thin from years of grinding.
Traditionally a new crown requires two visits to the dentist:
- During the first visit, the dentist makes an impression of your tooth and also prepares the tooth for the procedure. During the preparation phase, the dentist may file your tooth to make room for the crown to fit. Afterwards, the dentist gives you a temporary filling to protect your tooth while you wait. The dentist sends the impression to the lab and the lab makes your crown within 2-3 weeks or sometimes longer.
- Weeks later, your dentist receives the crown and applies it during a second dental appointment. This process may take 2-4 weeks.
Thanks to modern technology, selected dentists can create same day crowns. This capability is currently limited to a minority of dental offices who have the right training and equipment.
The Same Day Crown Process
To start, the dentist uses a small 3D camera to take pictures of the tooth. For many patients, the process of taking 3D photographs is more comfortable than the process for making traditional dental impressions.
Once your dentist measures your teeth, the dental team uses computer-aided design (CAD) and computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) to create a ceramic crown custom fitted to your tooth.
Since all this is done “in-house” the 2-4 week waiting time doesn’t apply. Often a dental office can create same-day crowns while you are relaxing in the waiting room.
Unfortunately, most dentists do not have the ability to create same day crowns. This is a high-tech process that requires the right equipment and up-to-date expertise. According to “USA Today”, around 10% of dental offices have the capacity to offer same day crowns.
Dentists who offer same day dentistry invest up-front in training, software, and equipment to be able to offer this service. Tiny 3D cameras, modeling software, and specialized ceramic mills are among the required equipment that makes same day dentistry cost prohibitive for some dentists. The 10% who invest are committed to investing in the best emerging practices and most likely serve a well-populated area.
Before Same-Day Crown
After Same-Day Crown
Benefits of Same Day Crowns Versus Traditional Crowns
- Timesaving: You only need to visit your dental office once to have your new crown fitted, created, and installed.
- Convenience as you don’t need to take extra time off work.
- A same-day crown eliminates the need for a temporary filling and the discomfort of two separate dental procedures.
- Many patients find a same-day crown to be a more comfortable process both physically and emotionally.
- Porcelain crowns look more attractive than traditional porcelain fused to metal crowns since you won’t have the fine black line that runs along the gum line with traditional crowns.
- Since the tooth is made-to-measure the same day as it is applied you get a perfect fit.
- Same day crowns don’t require the use of dental putty. Some patients find the putty uncomfortable and unpleasant tasting.
Like any other dental procedure, same day crowns are not right for every patient. There are some circumstances where your dentist may recommend another treatment or even traditional crowns. Sometimes the condition of the tooth or location needing the crown decrease the chances of success. This is why an exam and diagnosis are the first steps to effective dental treatment.
Same day crowns are just one of many modern digital dentistry practices. These cutting-edge techniques makes dental care faster, more convenient, and better. Other Digital Dentistry techniques include:
- Digital imaging and X-rays that provide clearer imagery. Some techniques provide a 3D view of your teeth and jaw.
- Digital dentures that are in some ways similar to same day crowns and dentists can easily duplicate the set in the case of loss or damage.
- Other digitally-enhanced diagnosis and treatment options are emerging
Making the Most of Your Same Day Crowns
A member of your dental team, such as a dentist or hygienist, will advise you on how to take care of your new crown.
The recommendations may cover cleaning and maintenance. Your dental professional will also outline whether you need to avoid specific foods. One benefit to the ceramic crowns used in the same day process is that they are durable. Sometimes you learn special flossing and brushing techniques.
If you suffer from a broken or chipped tooth, call today to make a dental appointment. Your dentist will perform an exam to determine the best course of treatment, which may include a same day crown.