Same-Day Dental Crowns - Advantages, Disadvantages, Cost

technician making a same day dental crown

Same-day crowns have emerged as an effective and quick alternative to traditional crowns but there are a lot of questions surrounding them. Like, how are they made, are they durable enough, and are they a good option after all? Well, there are pros and cons to every treatment and this one is no exception. If you want to know whether same-day crowns are something you would like to try, keep reading as we reveal the basic facts about this piece of restoration work. Find out how much they cost and who makes a good candidate for one in the paragraphs that follow.

What is a Same-Day Crown?

techician painting a dental crown

A traditional dental crown takes the place of a damaged tooth. It is made in a laboratory over a period of a few weeks for the best colour match and results. After that, patients go back to the dentist’s office to have it fixed in place. In medical lingo, you will hear the term lab-created crowns tossed around.

A same-day crown is a type of permanent crown that is attached to one’s teeth on the same day using a CEREC machine (Chairside Economical Restoration of Esthetic Ceramics). More often than not, porcelain ceramic is the material of choice for this job since it’s natural-looking and relatively durable 1.

The dentist will create your prosthesis on-site using CAD/CAM technology. In case you haven’t heard of it, it’s short for Computer-Aided Design/Computer-Aided Manufacturing. It works by assessing patients’ natural smiles and making precise digital impressions of their teeth. The right shade of ceramic is picked so that it fits best their colour. And the final step is for the dental crown to be carved from a solid block. A milling machine that comes with the computer does the trick directly at the dental office. In just five minutes, the prosthesis is ready to use.

What Is the Difference Between Same-Day Crowns and Lab-Created Dental Crowns?

dental oven

The difference between a same-day crown and a lab-created permanent one is that it is manufactured from multiple alloys, making it much sturdier. For example, dentistry specialists may fuse porcelain ceramic with metal or mix various metal alloys. If the back teeth are affected, gold is also used. For front teeth, the dentist has to be select materials whose shade resembles your natural tooth colour the most. This way your mouth will look the same and no one will know you’ve had restoration work done.

It takes the lab a couple of weeks to design and build the porcelain-fused-to-metal crown and at least two appointments for the dentists to complete the entire process. Porcelain crowns are more cost-effective on average, than porcelain-fused-to-metal ones, according to research 2. On their first appointment, patients have to bite into an impression paste that serves as a mold for the permanent crown. Then they need to wear a temporary crown to get them through the weeks while they wait for the second appointment.

The problem with temporary crowns is that they are not a perfect fit and sometimes they will come off, requiring a rushed dental visit. Not to mention, they may be uncomfortable to wear and make it difficult to eat. In other words, a temporary crown is an additional financial burden and an inconvenience that can be avoided.

Upsides of Same-Day Crowns over Traditional Crowns

There are certain factors that make patients favour same-day dental crowns over lab-created crowns and here they are:

  • Time is the obvious benefit here - there is no waiting period and you can use your new tooth right away
  • Your eating habits are not affected and you don’t have to wait before you can enjoy your favourite snacks
  • As far as same-day crowns are concerned, all steps are completed in a single appointment (as opposed to traditional crowns where multiple appointments are needed)
  • The treatment process is more convenient than it is with lab-created crowns
  • You can prevent injury or infection to your damaged tooth by placing a same-day crown and fixing the problem right away
  • It is more affordable because it saves you extra trips to the dental office
  • Same-day crowns are not likely to cause problems to people with metal allergy
  • They look similar to your natural teeth, so they won’t affect your smile
  • Porcelain ceramic crowns can be detected on X-rays as opposed to traditional ones with metal alloys; this is crucial for future diagnosis

Downsides of Same-Day Crowns

  • A same-day crown requires less drilling and testing, for which reason some fractures deep down the tooth or below the gum line may go unnoticed by dentists
  • Porcelain is a durable material but not as durable as metal alloys or gold used in the making of a traditional crown

Even though the disadvantages are not as many as those of lab-created crowns, the latter are some of the best options out there,

Same-Day Crown vs Temporary Crown: Is It the Same Thing?

No, it is not. These two are different things. We know it can be confusing but a temporary crown is what its name implies. It acts as a protective barrier against bacteria for the time being, i.e. until the permanent crown is fabricated and ready to place. On the other hand, a same-day dental crown is used as a permanent prosthesis.

How Long Does a Same-Day Crown Last?

Same-day crowns can withstand chips and cracks for 5-15 years. Sometimes they can be as sturdy as traditional crowns and the fact that they are manufactured so quickly doesn’t mean that they are stripped of quality. Most of the time, it depends on aftercare and maintenance. Other times it is down to dumb luck.

Are Same Day Crowns Worth It as Compared to Traditional Crowns?

Same-day crowns are worthwhile, especially if you need a quick solution. There are disadvantages to them just like every other treatment, so you have to decide for yourself whether this is something that you are okay with.

How Much do Same-Day Crowns Cost?

In some cases, same-day crowns can be less costly than traditional crowns since they don’t come with a mixture of materials. Having them placed in one appointment equals less money out of pocket for dentist work and also less chair time. But in general, they run about the same price as a traditional crown. You can expect to pay around $1,500. Some insurance plans cover this option but others don’t, so make sure to discuss that with your dentist so you know how much money you will need.

Is It Painful to Have a CEREC Crown Placed in Your Mouth?

Getting a crown is not supposed to hurt because it involves the outer part of the tooth. Before you get a crown, the remaining part of your damaged tooth has to be ground down at the dentist’s office. This will create enough space for the prosthesis to fit in. The process of filing down should not be painful.

If you have sensitive teeth, there may be some discomfort involved but nothing too serious. When it comes to cementing the crown to the tooth, that is pain-free as well.

How to Care for CEREC Crowns and Your Smile

Whether traditional or same-day, crowns should be taken care of the same way as natural teeth. Brush and floss on the regular and add a mouthwash to your cleaning kit. Make it a point to stay away from junk food, cut down on sugary foods. Don’t forget to have regular cleanings with your dentist as this will keep decay and plaque at bay.

If you have any cavities that need filling, don’t procrastinate. Fix any problems as soon as possible to avoid further tooth decay or other damage. If you happen to clench your teeth, ask your provider for more information on how you can break that habit. Wear a nightguard as necessary. Always stick with the recommendations and instructions you receive. The more you look after your CEREC crowns and other restoration work, the longer they will last.