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What Are CEREC Dental Crowns? Are You a Good Candidate?

CEREC dental crowns are devices made from a digitally modeled ceramic mold that restore damaged teeth. In the past, getting a dental crown required several visits to the dentist and numerous weeks of wearing temporary crowns before being fitted with one that matched your natural tooth color. With CEREC technology, you can get permanent crowns in one visit.

Read on to find out more.

What are CEREC dental crowns?

Chairside Economical Restoration of Esthetic Ceramics, also called (CEREC) is an advanced modern technology that makes it possible for dental professionals to produce custom-fitted dental crowns in a single visit to their clinic. It is a new cutting-edge type of dental restoration made from digital instead of traditional impressions. It includes using CAD/CAM (Computer-Aided Design/Computer-Assisted Manufacturing) software program to create the crowns and a milling machine that sculpts the ceramic material into shape. Like traditional crowns, CEREC crowns are made to match your natural teeth’ shape, size, and shade, giving you a beautiful smile.

When is CEREC used?

CEREC dental crowns are used for the following:

  • Restore damaged teeth because of decay, deterioration, or injury
  • Replace huge fillings that have become loose or worn down
  • Cover severely discolored teeth
  • Secure dental bridges in place
  • Repair cracked or fractured teeth
  • Replace old, worn-out crowns

Traditional Dental Crowns Vs. CEREC

Below is a comparison between CEREC and traditional dental crowns:

  • Dental visits needed. Traditional dental crowns call for multiple visits to the dentist, usually two or even more. With CEREC, you can receive your new crown in just one visit.
  • Materials. Traditional dental crowns are made from a variety of materials, including metal alloys, ceramics, resin, and porcelain, integrated into metal (PFM). On the other hand, CEREC crowns are made only from ceramic material.
  • Durability. Since traditional crowns are made from different materials like metal alloys, they are less susceptible to breakage. On the other hand, the ceramic material used in CEREC crowns is more vulnerable to breakage.
  • Lifespan. Because CEREC crowns are more vulnerable to damage, their life expectancy is significantly shorter than traditional dental crowns. Generally, they last approximately 10 to 15 years, while metal crowns can last up to 15 or more.
  • Cost. The costs for both treatments vary, but there’s not much difference.
  • Accuracy. Since CEREC uses a digital impression, the reliability of CEREC crowns is greater than traditional dental crowns.

It’s worth noting that the secret to longer-lasting crowns, whichever materials they are made from, is good dental hygiene and routine dental visits. This means brushing two times and flossing daily, preventing or restricting sweet foods and beverages, as well as scheduling regular checkups and cleanings. 

See more here for further explanations on how to care for your teeth after getting traditional or CEREC dental crowns.

Should you choose CEREC over traditional crowns?

If you are looking for a faster method to address your damaged teeth, CEREC crowns might be the right option for you. Like traditional crowns, they can also provide you with a natural-looking smile, but in a fraction of the time. However, if durability and a longer lifespan are necessary, traditional dental crowns would be a much better alternative. To get evaluation for CEREC dental crowns, see your dentist for a more detailed assessment to determine if this is right for you.

Are there alternatives to CEREC dental crowns?

If, for some reason, you can’t obtain CEREC or traditional dental crowns, here are a few of the alternatives you can consider:

  • Dentures. These are removable prosthetic devices that replace missing teeth. Permanent dentures can be made from either acrylic or metal, providing a much more affordable substitute for crowns. However, they are less sturdy.
  • Dental implants. These are longer-lasting treatments for missing teeth made from titanium and are surgically implanted right into the jawbone. While they are more costly than other options, they give a more natural look and feel and a longer lifespan.
  • Onlays. While they are less strong than crowns, onlays provide a more budget-friendly option for restoring damaged teeth. These dental pieces cover the teeth’s chewing surface area and replace large fillings.
  • Inlays. Inlays are similar to onlays but smaller sized. They fit inside the cusps (ridges) of the tooth and are used to repair smaller decay areas.
  • Bonding. Also known as composite bonding, this technique involves applying a tooth-colored resin material straight to the affected tooth and shaping it for a natural look. It’s a suitable alternative for people who want a low-cost solution with limited durability.

The Bottom Line

CEREC dental crowns are an excellent choice if you need to restore your teeth fast without sacrificing the quality of your results. Comparable to traditional ones, they can provide you with a natural-looking, beautiful smile. However, if durability and longevity are top of your checklist, traditional crowns are ideal. Your dentist can help you make a decision about which crown will suit your situation.

Regardless of your choice, proper dental hygiene is essential to keeping your dental restorations looking great and lasting longer. Brush your teeth at least twice, floss daily, and have regular checkups with your dentist every six months or as your dentist advises. With good care and maintenance, your new crown should last many years.