When asking people about how they enjoy spending their free time, no one ever says that they love going to the dentist. Still, dental visits can be an essential part of maintaining one’s oral health and/or improving the appearance of one’s smile. Even so, visiting your dentist shouldn’t need to be a lengthy process that takes up all of your free time. Nowadays, modern dentistry has become faster than ever with the introduction of same day dental crowns.
Dental crowns are tooth-shaped caps that fit over the entire visible portion of the tooth. They have been a part of dentistry for decades and have come a long way in that time. Traditionally, it takes two dental appointments to place a dental crown. During the first dental appointment, the affected tooth is prepared by first removing any damaged or decayed tissue and then shaping the remaining tissue to accommodate the crown. Once the tooth has been prepared, a dental impression or oral scan is taken and sent to a dental laboratory so that the crown can be fabricated.
Since it generally takes an average of 1-2 weeks to have a crown fabricated by a dental lab, a temporary crown is placed over the affected tooth until the permanent crown is ready. Temporary dental crowns do not fit super well and are not always very comfortable, however they do protect the tooth and reserve the space necessary for the permanent crown. When the permanent crown is completed, then the second dental appointment is necessary to remove the temporary crown and replace it with the permanent crown.
In the past, the best way to have a quality crown fabricated was to have it fabricated by a dental laboratory. Nowadays, however, dental technology has found a viable alternative that still allows for the production of quality dental crowns, albeit much faster. These modernized crowns are known as same-day dental crowns since the permanent crown can be placed the same day that the tooth is prepared. This means that it now takes only a single dental appointment to have a crown placed!
The reason why this is possible is due to an in-office CAD/CAM machine. This technology allows for the fabrication of indirect restorations, such as crowns, inalys, onlays, and veneers, while you wait. And unlike traditional crowns, it does not take an average of 1-2 weeks. At this point, you are probably wondering just how long a same-day dental crown takes from start to finish. While your exact experience and treatment length can vary slightly depending on a number of factors, here are the basic steps of getting a same-day crown and how long it takes:
Step One: Preparation
The first step of having a same-day crown placed is to prepare the affected tooth. The timing of this stage is somewhat hard to predict because it will depend on the extent and location of the decayed or damaged tissue. In some cases, a root canal may need to be performed if the decay has reached the inside of the tooth. In any case, dental sedation options can be provided to keep you relaxed and comfortable during your procedure.
It is important to note that cases requiring root canals will take longer than those that do not. After the tooth has been properly prepared, then your dentist will take an oral scan of your mouth. This oral scan takes only a minute or two, sometimes less. The information from the scan will then be used by the milling machine to fabricate a custom crown. While your crown is being fabricated, you have the option to wait or return at a later time. Depending on the level of dental sedation used, however, you may be unable to drive yourself and may require a driver to leave the office.
Step Two: Carving
To start the fabrication process, the shape of your crown is first carved out of a block of porcelain, composite, or lithium disilicate. It takes an average of 20 minutes for several small burs to gradually carve the block into the proper shape, size, and texture.
Step Three: Finishing Touches
After the crown has been carved, it will then need to be properly colored so that it blends in with the surrounding teeth. The process of staining and glazing the crown usually takes another 20 minutes. To permanently set the color and shape of the crown, the restoration will then need to be fired for about 15-20 minutes.
All in all, it takes about an hour for a same-day crown to be fabricated. However, the time it takes to prepare the tooth for a crown can vary depending on the extent and location of any damaged or decayed tissue. Still, if you need to have a dental crown placed, having a same-day crown placed is the way to go since it will save you from an extra day spent at the dentist’s office.