When a tooth is damaged, it sometimes needs a protective ‘shell’ to prevent losing it in the future. For example, when a tooth has several fillings or is cracked, it is advised to have a crown (‘cap’) placed over the tooth to protect the remaining natural structure.
Without a crown to preserve the tooth, it is vulnerable to breaking below the gum line. When this occurs, the tooth can no longer be saved and must be removed. When a natural tooth is lost, it means the patient is left with the decisions and costs of replacing it.
If a natural tooth is not replaced, it can distract from your smile’s appearance, sending a message that is negative. However, even when a missing tooth is not visible, it can lead to bite misalignment.
Bite misalignment occurs when neighboring teeth are no longer held in their positions by the tooth that was once present. An open space in the mouth can cause the tooth above or below to elongate. It can also allow adjacent teeth to tilt inward to the open area.
Teeth that shift, even slightly, can lead to chips, breaks, fractures, and cracks. It can also cause TMJ problems. The TMJ refers to your jaw joints that hinge the lower jaw to the skull. When these joints become stressed from misaligned teeth, it can lead to migraines, frequent headaches, jaw popping, dizziness, and ear ringing.
TMJ disorders can also result in night-time clenching and/or grinding of teeth during sleep. Known as “bruxing,” this can lead to worn, broken, or fractured teeth.
Obviously, the reasons for crowning a tooth are many. Yet, the process itself can be a deterrent to many people. Traditionally, the process of ‘crowning’ a tooth required several visits.
During the first appointment, the tooth is ‘prepared’. This reshapes the tooth so it can have a crown placed over it. An impression of the tooth is then sent to a dental lab to create the final ceramic crown. In the meantime, a ‘temporary’ crown is placed to protect the modified tooth structure and replace the appearance of the tooth for the time being.
Temporaries are more fragile than final restorations. They are also held in place with an adhesive that is designed to ‘give’ easier than what is used to adhere the final crown. This is so the temporary can be dislodged without damage to the natural tooth structure.
Unfortunately, a dental lab may take up to a month to complete the process and return the final result. Once at the dental office, another appointment is schedule.
In the next visit, the temporary is removed and the final crown is placed and secured with a sturdy adhesive. The crown is then measured to ensure proper alignment with surrounding teeth.
Whew – Two appointments! Two numbings! Possibly a month’s time!
No wonder people don’t always begin treatment when the time is best to save the tooth! Yet, saving a natural tooth is valuable to the health of surrounding teeth as well as the bone structures that support tooth roots.
In our Demotte, IN dental office, we know that today’s busy adults prefer the advantages of a single visit crown. This is done through the advanced, computerized technology of CEREC. Rather than go through the long process mentioned above, we chose to incorporate this technology to give our patients immediate access to a one-&-done crown.
CEREC eliminates the need for a second appointment to have the final restoration placed. It also eliminates the lengthy wait for a dental lab to create it.
Patients also appreciate they can avoid the insecurity of wearing a temporary and the dread of having a second numbing.
Yet, another advantage – Since we create custom-shaped and shaded restorations (crown) here, shade matching is more exact rather than having to rely on a dental lab to adhere to specific tints. Our CEREC one-appointment crown patients are able to leave our dental office with a durable, beautiful ceramic restoration.
As a Demotte dentist who is highly experienced in this technology, I especially like that CEREC allows our patients to be more relaxed in a process that condenses appointment time and provides exceptional results.