Smile. Picture perfect crowns in one visit.

Smile.  Picture perfect crowns in one visit.

Digital technology is revolutionizing the way crowns are made, giving dental patients a faster, more comfortable, convenient, and affordable experience.

If you or someone you know has ever had to get a crown, which is a custom-fitted cap to cover a damaged or missing tooth, you know it can involve a few visits to the dentist. It can also lead to the unpleasant gagging reflex for many patients when the impression tray is placed in the mouth to make a model of the tooth and surrounding area.

It also means a couple of weeks of waiting time, the insertion and removal of a temporary crown, the final fitting and at least two injections.

broken tooth chipped damaged crown capped dentist uncomfortable traditional

Dentists are always interested in exploring new technological developments that will help their patients feel more comfortable and reduce the time needed in the dentist’s chair.

CEREC Crown is one example of how dentistry is using technology to improve the patient experience, with same day crowns in about 90 minutes.

What is CEREC Crowns?

CEREC is an acronym for Chairside Economical Restoration of Esthetic Ceramics. (courtesy or CEeramic REConstruction

CEREC One Visit Crowns

CEREC is a system that enables dentists to design, build, and insert high-quality metal-free dental restorations in one visit, usually in one or two hours, with 3D digital photography and CAD/CAM software.

Created in 1980 at the University of Zurich, the CEREC system was originally used mainly in dental labs but in the last ten years has seen growth as a service provided right in the dental practice. More and more dentists are using this technology, and to date there are an estimated 7 million restorations made by CEREC around the world annually.

The CEREC system eliminates the need for temporary crowns, and the whole process usually takes no longer than 90 minutes. Dentists can design a restoration virtually with a 3D camera and CAD/CAM technology for a crown, onlay, inlay or bridge.

CEREC scan digital photograph camera image crown bridge veneer

CEREC system 3D camera scans the tooth and surrounding area


How does CEREC Crown work?

First the dentist removes the old filling and any decay, as well as any tooth structure that must be removed to prepare the tooth for the crown.

This cavity preparation is then scanned with a thin video camera. The image of the area that requires a crown is stored as a three-dimensional digital model.

The computer software can suggest the ideal size of the new crown, which the dentist can tweak with CAD (computer aided design.)

The crown is produced in the milling unit which is right in the dentist’s office. A block of solid porcelain ceramic is placed in the unit and sculpted to the specifications of the design.

milling unit CEREC crowns one visit dentistry in Waterloo veneers bridge porcelain sculpted

CEREC Milling Unit at Dentistry in Waterloo

The crown can then be immediately fitted and bonded to the prepared tooth.

Most patients feel no pain during the procedure and comment that it is similar to getting a simple filling.

Benefits of CEREC Crowns

• Convenience. Shorter treatment time, thus lowering discomfort

• Digital impressions remove the need for a tray impression which many dislike due to the gag reflex

• A better fit with fewer adjustments needed later.

• Freezing done once only

• Scientifically proven to be strong and long-lasting

How do you know if you need a CEREC restoration?

If you have a cracked or chipped tooth, older weakened restorations, or any damage on your teeth, it may be a good idea to ask your dentist about CEREC crown restoration.

Will it cost more than the old process?

No, the price works out to be about the same but the convenience and time savings give patients even more value.

This new technology improves efficiencies and lowers some lab and specialist costs for dentists so they can pass along these savings to their patients with pricing similar to traditional crown pricing.

If you are interested in learning more about restorations with CEREC crowns – a full crown, partial crown, veneer or bridge - we would be happy to help you. Please contact Dentistry in Waterloo for a consultation.