Dentistry
Cosmetic
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Updated on October 3, 2022

CEREC Crowns - Procedure, Costs, Pros & Cons

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What are Same-Day CEREC Crowns?

A crown is a type of dental restoration. It “caps” the entire tooth to restore its shape, size, strength, and appearance. 

Traditional dental crowns require two dentist visits. At the first appointment, the dentist prepares your tooth by removing any decay and damaged tooth structure and shapes the tooth for the crown. The dentist then takes an impression of the prepared tooth and sends it to the dental laboratory that will make your crown. 

You'll have to wear a temporary crown until your second appointment several weeks later. Then, once the lab has finished making the permanent crown, you'll return to have it fitted and cemented in place.

Same-day CEREC crowns are different. CEREC is short for Chairside Economical Restoration of Esthetic Ceramics. The name refers to the fact that the crown is made chairside in your dentist's office, without the need for a dental lab. 

CEREC uses revolutionary computer-aided design and manufacturing (CAD/CAM) technology. It allows your dentist to design, fabricate, and place your crown in a single visit. The entire process takes just a few hours. There's no need for additional appointments or temporary crowns in most cases.1

Who is a Candidate for CEREC Crowns?

Most people who need a crown are candidates for a same-day CEREC restoration. 

The procedure is ideal if you have a tooth that's damaged, decayed, worn down, or misshapen. Dentists also place crowns on teeth with root canals to protect them from breaking. 

For minor tooth decay, fillings are an option. For more severe tooth decay, a filling may not be enough. Instead, a dentist can use a CEREC crown to support the tooth and prevent future problems from developing.2

CEREC Crowns Procedure (What to Expect)

The exact procedure may vary depending on the tooth being treated. But in general, here's what to expect:3

  1. The dentist takes X-rays and examines your mouth to assess the health of your teeth. If they determine that a CEREC crown is right for you, they can begin the process when you’re ready. 
  2. First, the dentist will numb the tooth and the surrounding gums. Then, the dentist removes any decay and damaged tooth structure and will appropriately shape the tooth for the crown. 
  3. Once the tooth is fully prepped, the dentist makes an impression. With traditional crowns, this requires using a putty-like material to make an accurate mold of your teeth. With CEREC crowns, the dentist uses a small camera to take a digital impression of your mouth. 
  4. Next, the dentist sends this information to a computer, where a software program is used to design a virtual model of your crown. A special machine then creates, or mills, a 3D tooth out of ceramic. This process takes about 15 to 45 minutes.
  5. Once the crown is ready, the dentist ensures it fits correctly. The dentist then cleans and prepares the tooth for bonding of the crown. 
  6. Finally, the dentist permanently cements the crown in place and uses a special light to help the glue ‘set.’
  7. Afterward, the dentist checks your bite and makes any necessary adjustments. You'll be able to leave with the permanent crown on the same day.

Pros and Cons of CEREC Crowns 

There are many benefits to CEREC crowns, including:4

  • Quality — they're made from high-quality ceramic that looks natural and blends in with your other teeth.
  • Durability — CEREC crowns are strong and durable. They can last many years with proper care.
  • Convenience — the procedure can be done in just one appointment.
  • Comfort — you don't have to wear a temporary crown while waiting for the permanent one to be made.

There are also some drawbacks, including: 

  • Suitability — they're not suitable for every type of crown. Specifically, they may not be strong enough for molars.
  • Availability — not all dentists offer CEREC crowns. You may need to look around to find a dentist who offers them.

If you're considering CEREC crowns, talk to your dentist about whether they're right for you. 

How to Care for CEREC Crowns

CEREC crowns require the same care as your natural teeth. That means brushing twice a day and flossing once a day. It’s also important to continue to see your dentist for regular checkups and cleanings. 

With proper care, CEREC crowns can last 10 years or more. Some studies show they can last even longer. However, they're not indestructible.5

Habits such as chewing on hard foods, opening bottles with your teeth, or clenching and grinding your teeth can damage a CEREC crown. This can cause it to break or come loose. 

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How Much Do CEREC Crowns Cost?

The cost of CEREC crowns can vary depending on the tooth being treated, the materials used, and the dentist. 

CEREC crowns may cost slightly more than traditional crowns because of the high-tech equipment. The national average cost of a crown is between $500 and $2,000. Since CEREC crowns can also be placed in one visit, they may save you money on office visits.6

Insurance Coverage

Your insurance may cover part or all of the cost of a CEREC crown. But coverage can vary depending on your provider and if the insurance considers the crown to be medically necessary

For example, insurance should cover the crown if it's necessary to treat large decay or after a root canal. It may not be covered if you request a crown simply to improve your tooth's appearance.

The best way to determine your coverage for dental crowns is to contact your insurance provider directly.

If insurance coverage isn't an option, speak to your dentist. They may offer financing options to help you pay for the procedure. 

Other Types of Dental Crowns 

CEREC crowns aren't the only type of dental crown. There are also:

Porcelain crowns

These are made entirely of porcelain. They're natural-looking and can be matched with your natural tooth color. 

They're a good choice if you have a metal allergy. However, some types of porcelain crowns may break more easily than other types of crowns. 

CEREC crowns and traditional porcelain crowns are comparable in strength and durability, as they are made from similar materials.

Porcelain-fused-to-metal (PFM) crowns

These crowns have a metal base with porcelain on top. They're stronger and more durable than CEREC crowns but may not look as natural. Some people also find that they cause gum irritation. 

Gold crowns

Gold crowns are usually a gold alloy, i.e. a mix of gold and other metals. Pure gold would be too soft to use for a crown. 

Gold crowns are stronger and more durable than CEREC. However, they are also the most expensive type of dental crown. 

Resin crowns

Like CEREC crowns, resin crowns are metal-free. This makes them a good choice for anyone with metal allergies. 

They are made of a combination of plastic and glass. Although they are the least expensive type of traditional crown, they're also the least durable. 

Your dentist can help you decide which type of permanent crown is right for you. 

Summary

A CEREC crown is a type of crown that only requires one dentist visit. They're made using computer-aided design (CAD) and computer-aided manufacturing (CAM). 

The benefits of CEREC dental crowns include convenience, comfort, and durability. However, they may not be suitable for every type of tooth. Finding a dentist who offers them may also be difficult.

6 Sources Cited
Last updated on October 3, 2022
All NewMouth content is medically reviewed and fact-checked by a licensed dentist or orthodontist to ensure the information is factual, current, and relevant.

We have strict sourcing guidelines and only cite from current scientific research, such as scholarly articles, dentistry textbooks, government agencies, and medical journals. This also includes information provided by the American Dental Association (ADA), the American Association of Orthodontics (AAO), and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).
  1. What Is CEREC Dental Technology?” Muscaro & Martini Dentistry. 2020.
  2. Who Is A Candidate For CEREC® Crowns?” Gilroy Dental Associates. 2020.
  3. What is a CEREC Crown?”  Adams Dental Group. 2017.
  4. The Advantages of CEREC Dental Crowns.”  South Waterfront Dental. 2016.
  5. Otto T. “Up to 27-years clinical long-term results of chairside Cerec 1 CAD/CAM inlays and onlays.” International Journal of Computerized Dentistry. 2017.
  6. The Cost of CEREC Crowns (Are They Worth It?).” Keystone Dentistry. 2022.
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