The procedure I feel has really made huge changes in the last twenty-five years is how a crown is made. A crown is a restoration made outside the mouth. You can think of it like a thimble that goes over the prepared tooth to give the tooth strength on all sides.
The Old Way...
In the past we would prepare the tooth, and take impressions of the prepped area. These impressions were goopy and made people gag. Next the impressions were sent to a lab. The lab would fabricate the crown out of gold or porcelain and return it to our office three weeks later.
Meanwhile, the patient would have a temporary crown while they are waiting for the lab crown. Sometimes temporary crowns would come off during the waiting period and the patient would have to return to the office to have the temporary crown re-cemented. We wouldn’t use a super strong cement to place the temporary because when the crown comes back from the lab we want to easily remove the temporary crown.
We have always used a very good local dental lab to make our crowns, but often Dr. Siddall would have to make adjustments when seating lab crowns. The lab didn’t have the advantage of having the patient in front of them when making the crown. They were fully relying on the models that were made from the impressions taken.
The New Way!
Today we make crowns in our office for most cases. This is a one visit crown appointment that takes about an hour and a half. We use the CEREC computer program. Instead of taking impressions with impression material, we use a 3D camera. Dr. Siddall designs the crown on the computer, next a milling chamber with two diamond burs and a log of water mills the crown out of a solid block of porcelain. Finally, the crown goes into an oven that is heated to 550 degrees.
The result is a beautiful, strong, well-fitting crown. The porcelain blocks come in many colors and Dr. Siddall also can add character with various techniques used to make the crown look natural. Also the contact and occlusion are very close, if not perfect, due to Dr. Siddall's technique and the precision of the digital impressions.
Another unique thing about the CEREC crowns is how they are bonded on. The old crowns were cemented on and over years the cement would sometimes wash away, exposing the tooth to the risk of decay. The new CEREC bonding procedure eliminates this risk making a longer lasting crown.
The Cerec procedure has been a huge advance in dentistry and I am proud to say we were one of the first dental offices in Northern Michigan to invest in this technology in 2000.
Contact our office today if you have any questions!