A dental crown is a restoration that’s designed to cover the entire portion of the tooth above the gum line. Made of durable materials, crowns can be tinted to match the surrounding teeth so they blend in beautifully. Crowns can be used to restore teeth that have large areas of decay or other damage like fractures or fissures, and they can also be used to cover dark metal amalgam fillings. Because they’re so strong, crowns are also used to provide additional protection for teeth that are used to support a dental bridge, and they can also be used to surround a tooth that’s had root canal therapy to provide additional strength while hiding the discoloration that usually develops following root canal therapy. Usually, crowns take two visits - one to prepare the tooth and make an impression that’s sent out to a dental lab, and a second appointment to apply the crown to the tooth. During the interim, patients typically wear a temporary crown to protect the tooth.
CEREC stands for “chairside economical restorations of esthetic ceramic” or “ceramic reconstructions,” a state-of-the-art system that enables patients to have a crown made and applied in the same visit. CEREC eliminates the need to have two office visits, which makes it a very convenient option for many patients. The CEREC process uses computer-aided design (CAD) software and computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) techniques to create strong, beautiful, customized ceramic crowns in just one visit.
In addition to greater convenience and lower cost, CEREC also uses digital technology to obtain “impressions” that are far more accurate than traditional “plaster-types” impressions. Plus, CEREC uses solid blocks of ceramic instead of laminates or “pressed” materials used in many traditional ceramic crowns, which means CEREC crowns are more durable and will last longer than similar crowns made using traditional lab-based techniques. And finally, CEREC enables more accurate tinting of the crown material so restorations blend with the natural tooth material, making the crown virtually undetectable.
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