A Month for a Dental Crown? How About an Hour?

In the past, dental crown was a two-appointment affair. If you bit down on something hard and broke a filling, or worse, cracked your tooth, you would need to schedule two dentist visits.

In the first office visit, the dentist would numb the area and prepare it for the crown by drilling and filing down the tooth. An impression of the tooth would be made and then sent off to a lab to create a perfect match. The dentist would give you a temporary filling until the lab was done creating the dental crown, which took about two or three weeks. When you came in for your second visit, the dentist would place the crown.

3D Dental Crown Imaging and Creation

This is still the standard procedure for many general dentistry practices. For others, that nearly month-long process has been reduced to about an hour, thanks to modern technology. About 1 in 10 dental practices are now using 3D-assisted technology to create dental crown right in the office, essentially eliminating the need to send an impression away to a lab to have the crown created.

3d Creation of Dental Crown

The system, called CEREC, uses computer-aided design and manufacturing (CAD/CAM) system to turn an image of your broken tooth into a real-life crown, all in about an hour. The first part of the process is the same. The dentist numbs the tooth and drills and shapes it to make way for the dental crown. But instead of using a mold to make an impression of the tooth, the dentist places a tiny camera near the tooth that creates a 3D image of what the crown will look like once placed on the tooth.

This image is relayed to a milling machine in another part of the office that creates the crown automatically. Using the 3D image, the milling machine looks at all of the details of your tooth and replicates it by carving into a block of porcelain to create a perfect match. All of this is done while you wait in the office. There‚Äôs no need to wait two or three weeks hoping that your temporary dental filling is going to hold out.

Advanced CEREC Machine in NYC

Purchasing a CEREC machine for the office might be a bit of an expense for a dental practice at first, but dental offices are finding that in the end, the new technology might end up saving as much time as it does money. By eliminating the costs of third-party dental crown fabrication labs, the dental practicesaner able to pass that savings on to their patients. As far as patients are concerned, being able to have a crown replaced in one day instead of three weeks means added savings from not needing to make multiple trips to the dentist in NY. Fewer office visits means paying less in appointment fees and less time away from work.

While only about 10% of dental offices provide 3D dental crown imaging and creation, the technology continues to improve and should be more widely available in the future.

Midtown Dental Care

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