Crowns — sometimes called “caps” — are protective restorations that cover your entire visible tooth. In years past, they had to be made at an off-site dental lab. As a result, it meant that getting crown treatment required two separate appointments about two weeks apart. And in the meantime, you had to wear a “temporary crown” that didn’t always fit very comfortably.
Fortunately, that’s no longer the case. At Raleigh Dental Arts we’ve invested in state-of-the-art technology that allows us to complete treatments like dental crowns in just one day. It’s all possible thanks to something called CEREC.
What is CEREC?
CEREC stands for Chairside Economical Restoration of Esthetic Ceramics. It’s a 3D CAD/CAM machine that allows us to use “digital” or “virtual” impressions of your tooth. The image is then used to carve a custom restoration without sending a mold of your teeth to an off-site lab. If you’re familiar with 3D printing, the technology is comparable. Although your crown is carved rather than printed, the concept itself is similar in that it uses virtual imaging as opposed to a physical replica of your tooth. Bottom line: it’s extremely accurate!
Why do I Need a Dental Crown?
Crowns provide added reinforcement and protection for structurally compromised teeth. Without a crown, your damaged tooth would ultimately chip or wear away with normal daily use. Something as simple as eating a meal could result in a significant fracture resulting in a root canal or extraction.
Generally speaking, our Raleigh dentist may recommend a dental crown if your tooth is affected by conditions like:
- Recent root canal (endodontic) treatment
- A large, leaky filling
- Aggressive tooth decay
- Severe enamel wear
- Cracks or fractures
Crowns protect and repair teeth that can’t be restored with a smaller filling or onlay. Instead of trying to fill an area that’s larger than the remaining shell of enamel (and causing the tooth to break,) it’s more predictable to cover the tooth with a “cap” and reinforce the structure that’s left.
If a tooth is starting to break apart, it’s simply a matter of time before pressure (from biting or chewing) causes the fracture to work its way deeper into the tooth’s structure. The same can be said for a tooth that is no longer vital, such as those treated with root canals. Even though they still appear to be intact, there’s no longer a blood supply bringing nutrients to the tooth. As such, the tooth is more brittle. Placing a crown over it will prevent damage before it starts.
Cost of Dental Crowns in Raleigh
Depending on the situation, one of our Raleigh same-day crowns costs anywhere from $1,200 to $1,500. In contrast, a traditional crown with custom ceramic matching (that’s designed in a lab) can cost anywhere from $1,500 to $1,700. Although there are situations that may require a lab designed crown, the majority of our CEREC same-day crowns are more than appropriate for the needs of our patients.
If you have dental insurance, it’s typical for most plans to cover about 50% of the cost of your crown. Be sure to keep any co-pays or deductibles in mind, if applicable. During your exam, our treatment coordinators will provide a breakdown of your insurance benefits so that you can see what’s covered (or not) and any expected out-of-pocket expenses. The last thing we want to do is surprise you with an unexpected dental bill!
Since same day crowns cost less than a custom crown made in a lab, they’re a smart choice for your smile’s needs! Especially if you plan on catching up on other dental procedures while you’re here. It’s a win-win.
Are There Extra Costs to Consider?
When you’re getting a dental crown, the cost of the treatment typically includes the restoration and all applicable lab fees. However, there are certain scenarios where there could be additional fees to consider. For instance, if your tooth is abscessed or severely decayed, a root canal or build-up could be essential before placing a crown. And if you’re hoping to sleep through the procedure, something like sedation is available but at applicable fees.
Again, be sure to let us know if you carry dental insurance. If you have coverage, the type of plan that you are enrolled in will directly impact the costs of the overall care plan. Depending on the specifics (which are decided by you or your employer) we’ll be able to provide you with a more accurate price range at the time of your exam. But generally speaking, even without insurance, your CEREC same-day crown should cost less than $1,500.
Traditional vs. Same Day Crowns
Traditional crowns may:
- Require gooey impressions or molds of your mouth
- Take about two weeks to create
- Are made in an off-site lab
- May need to be adjusted to ensure a correct fit
- Are susceptible to “human error” during the design process
- Delay treatment if they need to be re-made
- Occasionally have a visible metal base
With a CEREC crown, you can take advantage of things like:
- Having all of your work completed in one day
- Digitally accuracy for an assured fit
- Solid, durable ceramics (no visible metal)
- A crown that blends in with your overall smile
- Fewer trips to the dentist’s office
- Lower price
What To Expect During A Same Day Crown Treatment
Getting a same day CEREC crown a streamlined experience. When you arrive for your appointment, we’ll check your health history to see if you’ve had any recent medical changes. From there, we’ll get you comfortable in the chair — including administering any sedation, if applicable — and then apply a numbing gel to your tooth. Once the gel starts to work (it only takes a few minutes) we’ll administer a small amount of local anesthetic to allow for deeper numbing of the entire tooth structure. Local anesthetic usually lasts for a few hours at a time, so it’s common to go home before it completely wears off.
Once your tooth is completely numb, one of our Raleigh dentists will start to “prep” your tooth. This phase of the appointment involves reshaping the outer layer of your enamel so that there’s room for a crown to slip over it. We’ll also remove any areas of decay or damaged tooth structure, so that only healthy structures are left behind.
When your tooth is finally prepped, we’ll use the CEREC scanning wand to scan and record a digital “impression” of your tooth. This 3D image is directly transferred into our treatment planning software, so that a virtual crown can be designed on the computer screen. From there, we’ll match your adjacent teeth to our variety of porcelain shades and select the one that best resembles your unique smile.
A solid block of ceramic is placed into the CEREC milling machine, which is located in our in-house lab. From there, we transfer your Digital Crown design to the machine. CEREC interprets the data and begins to carve a crown out of the ceramic block. Each detail is carved within fractures of a millimeter of accuracy, for the best fit possible.
Finally, your completed crown is ready to try in. Our Raleigh dentist will remove the restoration from the milling equipment and then place it over your prepped tooth to assess the fit. Once we’ve ensured that everything looks and fits the way we intended it to, a permanent bonding agent is placed under the crown and it’s fitted to your tooth. That’s it!
How to Clean Your Same Day CEREC Crown
To extend the lifetime of your new crown, it’s important to clean around it daily. Although we may recommend avoiding the dental floss for a few days (while your bonding agent sets) it’s important to floss every day thereafter. Gently wrap the floss around your tooth in a “U” shape, sliding it up and down against the side of the crown and just below the gumlines, paying particular attention to the margin where the crown meets your tooth. In turn, carefully brush along your gums to remove residual plaque that may be collecting at the margins of your crown throughout the day.
And as always, schedule a six-month checkup at Raleigh Dental Arts to ensure your supporting and adjacent teeth are as healthy as possible.
Save Time with Same Day Dentistry in Raleigh
Same day CEREC crowns are great for our busy patients. Whether you’re working, retired, or raising a family, time is money. Minimizing the number of appointments you need to repair a tooth is both convenient and financially beneficial. Thanks to CEREC, Raleigh Dental Arts is able to provide some of the highest quality dental work without added costs or trips to our office.
If you need a new crown or are due to replace a large, old filling, we encourage you to visit with our Raleigh dental team to find out if CEREC is right for you. We’re an in-network provider with flexible financing options to keep costs low (without sacrificing quality.) Call us today to request an appointment!