Same Day Crowns Versus Lab-Created Crowns
When your dentist tells you that you have a tooth that is broken, decayed, discolored, or weak, you may be wondering: “Will my smile ever look or feel natural and healthy again?” With timely dental treatment and the placement of a properly fabricated dental crown, you can smile, assured that the answer is absolutely yes.
Like the discipline of dentistry itself, dental prosthetics—such as crowns, bridges, dentures, and implants—have dramatically improved over the years. Thankfully, long gone are the days when a damaged tooth was replaced with one extracted from the underprivileged or stolen from the grave!
In addition to being more ethically sourced, today’s dental crowns are better than ever before, though they’re not all the same. While same day crowns and lab-created crowns will both act to protect a compromised tooth from further damage or decay, the treatment process differs significantly, as does the long-term results you can expect to achieve.
So which is better? A same day crown or a lab-created crown? Here’s what you need to know about each.
What is a same day crown?
Also known as a single visit crown, a same day crown uses CEREC, or Chairside Economical Restoration of Esthetic Ceramics, to custom mill your dental crown from durable and natural-looking dental porcelain right in your dentist’s office.
What is a lab-created crown?
Made from gold alloys, base metal alloys, or porcelain-fused-to-metal, a lab-created crown is a dental crown that’s created at an off-site dental laboratory.
Comparison #1: Time
Whether you’re completing an implant restoration or restoring a damaged tooth, lab-created crowns require at least two appointments to complete. During the first appointment, you sink your teeth into a mouthful of gooey impression paste, get fitted with a temporary crown, and wait two to three weeks for your crown to be made and placed at your second appointment.
For many patients, the waiting period of lab-created crowns produce the most angst. In addition to potentially causing tooth sensitivity, temporary crowns are prone to falling off, requiring yet another appointment to have it placed back on your dental implant post or tooth.
Before the advent and refinement of CEREC’s technology, lab-created crowns—and the weeks-long process they require—were the only option for tooth restoration. Now, many patients are enjoying having their crown milled and placed in a single dental visit.
Same day crowns are exactly what they sound like. In just one dental visit, your dentist will prepare your tooth, take digital impressions, mill your custom crown in-office, and securely place your crown before sending you home with a fully functional and beautiful smile.
Comparison #2: Appearance
Save for porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns, lab-created crowns are made of various metals that will stand out from your natural teeth, often announcing your dental work every time you laugh, yawn, or speak. Though porcelain-fused-to-metal (PFM) crowns can offer a more natural appearance, their metal content can react with the gum tissue, which can cause a graying or discoloration around the treated tooth. Additionally, PFM crowns often reveal the metal underneath due to chipping, breaking, or gum recession. In all cases, these types of lab-created crowns are unsuitable for any patient with a metal allergy or sensitivity.
Using CAD/CAM technology (computer-aided design and computer-aided manufacturing), your dentist is able to measure and recreate every detail of your tooth’s surface and color-match your biocompatible, same day porcelain crown to seamlessly blend in with your smile’s natural appearance.
Comparison #3: Comfort and Fit
Remember that mouthful of gooey impression paste? In addition to being an unpleasant process for patients, traditional impressions (known as analog impressions) run a high risk of inaccuracy. Indeed, analog impressions can be easily distorted if you have too much saliva in your mouth when the impressions are taken, or if the technician makes a single mistake. If the resulting crown fits improperly, you’ll likely have to repeat the entire process—impression, temporary crown, and wait time—all over again.
Same day crowns rely on the accuracy and efficiency of CAD/CAM technology to take a clear three-dimensional impression of your teeth in a matter of minutes. This, alongside the hands-on involvement of your dentist, equals a dependably comfortable and accurate fit.
Comparison #4: Durability and Strength
Lab-created crowns made from gold or base metal alloys are dependably strong and durable, though they offer the most unnatural appearance. Porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns are also relatively strong, though they have a tendency to chip, break, and wear out the teeth opposite them.
Same day crowns are made from a solid block of durable dental porcelain that can last well over a decade with proper care and maintenance. Patients who clench or grind their teeth can help ensure the longevity of their same day crown by getting fitted with a custom nightguard.
Comparison #5: Cost
The cost of receiving a lab-created or same day crown is comparable though, in some cases, a same day crown can be even more affordable. Same day crowns require fewer appointments, which means fewer copays, or money out of pocket, and less time taken off work to make those extra appointments.
A custom-milled same day crown allows you to effectively and affordably restore your smile’s health, beauty, and radiance in just one dental visit. Here at Tomasik Family Dental, we’re honored to provide you with the highest standard of care and the latest dental technology, so your smile is always the best it can be. To schedule your next dental appointment, contact our office today.