Category Archives: CEREC

cerec crowns on front teeth

I was in a car accident and damaged both my front teeth. I need to get crowns on them. I am trying to decide between regular crowns and CEREC crowns. Is one better than the other?

Benjamin

Dear Benjamin,

porcelain block for CEREC crown

CEREC crowns are made out of single block of porcelain. This will give it a very uniform look. This works fine on most teeth. However, our front teeth are much more visible and exposed to light.

Natural teeth aren’t uniform. Look at this image of a tooth directly below. There are varying levels of translucency and opaqueness depending on where you are on the tooth.

image of a tooth

When a dentist does a traditional crown, it is built in layers with varying shades of porcelain. This can make a crown look more natural. However, even then, you’d need an expert cosmetic dentist because this takes a high level of skill.

If you really want a CEREC crown, then having an expert cosmetic dentist is even more important. They need to have a high level of skill in color theory so they can use various stains to give it that variated look while keeping that natural translucency.

Cosmetic Considerations with Dental Crowns

The dental crown can be made to match your teeth exactly. However, the color is permanent. If you are happy with the color of your teeth, then you do not need to take any further steps. However, if you want your teeth any whiter, the time to take care of that is before having the crowns designed.

In that case, your first step is to have your teeth whitened. You can do that in one appointment if you see a dentist who does Zoom Whitening.

Then, give it a couple of weeks for the color to calm down. That’s when your dentist can match the permanent color for you.

When you’re talking about front teeth, whether you get a traditional or CEREC crown, you will need a dentist capable of the skills required. I suggest you see an AACD accredited dentist.

This blog is brought to you by Louisiana Cosmetic Dentist Dr. Mike Malone.

should I have gotten a cerec crown?

I had a crown placed which led to pretty severe gum inflammation. My dentist couldn’t figure out why so he sent me to a periodontist. She couldn’t figure out what the cause was either. Off I go to a prosthodontist. This doctor thinks it is because the dentist placed the crown too deep. He also said if I don’t have it treated I will develop gum disease. But, he said the surgery will likely lead to cosmetic damage to the gum area. I feel stuck. I don’t want gum disease, but I don’t want a cosmetic issue either. What do I do? Would this have happened if I’d gotten a CEREC crown instead?

Mary

Dear Mary,

CEREC Crown being placed on a tooth
Sometimes a dentist gets in over their head

It’s a shame this happened to you. I think your dentist should help cover this as his actions led to the problem. One thing that worries me is the prosthodontist acting like if you treat your gum disease, you’ll end up a cosmetic freak.

The truth is, whatever damage was done to your gums cosmetically speaking, is already done. Now your choices are repair this to help you prevent gum disease or leave it and end up with gum disease. It’s pretty much a no-brainer, but they didn’t put it to you that way..

Maybe they said it that way so you wouldn’t think they botched something after the procedure.

In the meantime, I’m going to suggest you rinse with an antibacterial rinse, like Peridex. This will help you with the gum inflammation.

CEREC Crowns Versus Traditional

You asked if this would have happened if you’d had a CEREC crown instead of a traditional crown. In reality, while CEREC crowns are milled by computer, which does make the fit as accurate as possible, the placement of the crown is still done by the dentist. If he placed a traditional crown improperly, he’d likely do the same with a CEREC.

The only other advantage to getting a CEREC crown would be having it done in one appointment instead of needing a temporary crown and two appointments. The dentist really matters more than the type of crown.

This blog is brought to you by Lafayette, LA Dentist Dr. Mike Malone.

can I fix the color of my cerec crowns?

I had a CEREC crown done on one of my canine teeth about three weeks ago. We never really discussed the shade while I was in the office, but as soon as I got home, I realized that it was a bit lighter than the rest of my teeth. Well, once I saw it, I couldn’t un-see it, and now every time I look at myself, all I see is that darn tooth. It looks fake.

I didn’t want to bother my dentist with this at first, so I started playing around with at-home whitening products to try to get the rest of my teeth to match, but I’m just not getting them as bright as that CEREC crown. This probably sounds crazy, but I’m starting to wonder if he can darken it just a bit, so it’s a better match. Is that even possible?

Thanks,

Stan

Dear Stan,

CEREC crown restorations and materials

There are a couple of things about your case that give away that your dentist isn’t really what I would call a cosmetic dentist. Every dentist who is serious about cosmetic dentistry, when they place a crown on a front tooth, will make sure you get a good look at it before it is permanently bonded on. He didn’t do that.

The other problem is that it is a CEREC crown. The CEREC material is a block of material that is a set shade. Unless the dentist is an advanced cosmetic dentist, he won’t know how to use color theory and stains to match a front tooth.

To match a front tooth, a true cosmetic dentist has the ability to customize the shade. Each tooth in your mouth has differences in color from the neck of the tooth to the tip, and it is quite a process to mix different materials to get a crown to match the surrounding teeth.

Tints and Stains Exist

There are tints and stains that can be applied to the CEREC to customize the shade. But on a ceramic, that has to be baked into the crown, so that has to be done before the crown is put in your mouth, obviously.

Sounds Like You Will Have to Have Your CEREC Crown Replaced

You deserve to be happy with your smile and he biffed the color. Hopefully, your dentist will agree to re-doing the crown. However, this time, make sure you get to look at it BEFORE they cement it. Check it out under various lighting conditions—seriously. Look at it in the chair. Get up and go into the bathroom and check it there. Venture to an outside window and view it in natural sunlight. If it isn’t right, don’t let them cement it.

Request a Lab-Made Restoration if All Else Fails

There are crowns that have a core that is made like a CEREC crown and then have porcelain baked over the top. If you want a natural-looking crown on a front tooth, this is the way to go. Although you’ll have to wait two weeks for the lab to make it, the lab technician will be able to tint the crown to match your existing teeth. But the dentist also needs to have a good eye for color and the ability to describe the color variations in your tooth, and your dentist doesn’t sound like he is that much into that. For the best results, you’d really want to switch to someone who specializes in cosmetic dentistry for these sorts of things, but you’ve already started with him, so as long as you’re keen to continue, give him the chance to fix his work too.

If he can’t, look for a dentist who has been accredited with the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. AACD accredited dentists are the top cosmetic dentists in the country.

This blog is sponsored by Lafayette, LA Dentist Dr. Mike Malone.

Cerec crown is too big

I had a dental crown that was about five years old. It broke and I needed to replace it. I decided to get a CEREC crown to speed up the procedure and get a crown as quickly as possible. I’ve had crowns before. But, this one has been a problem. It feels huge in my mouth. So big that it was hurting and causing problems with my speech and gums. It’s also causing me to bite my tongue at night in my sleep. I went back to my dentist and she tried filing it down but I’m still having problems. I though the CEREC crown would fit better.

Kathy

Dear Kathy,

Block of porcelain for CEREC crowns

It seems to me as if you’ve had two dud dentists recently. Dental crowns shouldn’t break. Normally, with a CEREC crown, a tooth is scanned before it is prepared for the crown. Then they use the shape of the tooth in the software to design the crown.

Without that, the dentist can use the software to form the crown, but it sounds like your dentist doesn’t know how to do that yet. I wouldn’t ask her to fix it with her CEREC machine.

Instead, I would ask her to give you a traditional crown which is done at a lab. It will take a little longer, but you need a well-fitted crown. CEREC is capable of doing that. In fact, the software can design a precise crown. Your problem is the dentist.

Do not settle for a crown where you are biting any part of your mouth. This can lead to tumors. A crown should not be noticeable at all.

Turning this Into a Benefit

If you’re going to have to have the crown re-done, I would look at it as an opportunity to improve your smile. This isn’t at all necessary but could be something beneficial.

One of the first things people notice about us is our smile. A great and inexpensive way to make your smile look years younger is with teeth whitening.

Now I don’t know where this crown is, but if it is at all in a visible part of your smile you should consider whitening your teeth before having the permanent crown made so it can be made to match.

This blog is brought to you by Lafayette, LA Dentist Dr. Mike Malone.

dentist pushing cerec crowns

I need a dental crown on a tooth in the front of my mouth. My dentist is really pushing for me to get a CEREC crown. I know he’s invested a lot in the machine and probably needs to recoup his money, but I want to make sure these crowns are just as good as the regular ones before getting it. It’s more of a big deal because I’m talking about a front tooth and don’t want to look stupid.

Kevin

Dear Kevin,

Block of porcelain for CEREC crowns
Cerec restorations are made of all-porcelain.

Trying something new can be exciting, but when it comes to your smile, you want to be certain the results will be something you won’t want to hide.

Advantage of CEREC Crowns

With traditional porcelain crowns, your dentist designs it and then send it off to a lab to be completed. This process takes about two weeks. In the meantime, you will be provided with a temporary crown. This is designed to protect the tooth.

They are designed to come off easily so some patients find it more challenging to eat with them on. They’re also a little less attractive than the final result will be because of their temporary nature.

With CEREC Crowns, you walk out of your appointment with your permanent crown in place. This is because it is milled right in the office.

That convenience is its biggest advantage. You don’t have to come back for a second appointment, which means there is no need to get additional time off work or find a babysitter for a second appointment.

Because they’re made of all porcelain, they are just as attractive as traditional crowns. There isn’t much of a cost difference either.

CEREC Crowns on Front Teeth

This issue of a front tooth is more an issue of the dentist than the type of crown. Matching a crown to a front tooth takes an expert cosmetic dentist, especially on a single front tooth.

In that case, I’d ask your dentist to show you images of results of crowns he’s done on front teeth. Ask specifically for an example of CEREC crowns as well. Because they’re milled out of a single block of porcelain, your dentist will really have to know his color theory.

If he doesn’t get beautiful results, you may be happier switching to a different dentist for this one procedure with a different dentist. You can still get a CEREC crown, but you’ll get it by a dentist with expertise in cosmetics. Ideally, you’d see a dentist who is accredited with the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry.

This blog is brought to you by Lafayette Dentist Dr. Mike Malone.

dentist pushing a cerec crown

I need to a get a dental crown. I’ve always gotten the regular kind so I was expecting that again. Instead, my dentist wants me to get a CEREC crown by a machine. Before I commit, I want to make sure they’re okay. I’d rather have it made by a human, but if they’re okay I guess I’ll go ahead.

Paul

Dear Paul,

Block of porcelain for CEREC crowns

You are fine getting a CEREC crown, with one possible exception which we’ll talk about in a moment. Using the CEREC machine to mill the crown, you will get a great fit. It uses sophisticated software to make sure your crown is precisely cut.

Because they are all-porcelain, they will have the same translucency as your natural teeth. They will look beautiful if your dentist knows how to use the machine well.

Their biggest benefit, though, is you can get your dental crown in just one visit.

The one exception to this would be for front teeth. These are trickier. When your teeth are milled by a CEREC machine it uses a single block of porcelain.

Our natural teeth are not the same level of depth all the way down. Some parts are more opaque than others. Because of this you need a dentist with expertise in color theory and staining in order to mimic the different levels of color needed for front teeth.

Finding a Dentist to Do CEREC Crowns on Front Teeth

Only about 1-2% of dentists will know how to do this correctly. If your crown is needed on another tooth, you should be fine, but with a front tooth, I’d look for an AACD accredited dentist.

Dentists who’ve been accredited with the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry have done extensive training. In order to reach accreditation they have to pass oral and written exams as well as demonstrate their artistry .

Any dentist who has reached accreditation can give you a gorgeous crown, even on a front tooth.

This blog is brought to you by Lafayette, LA Dentist Dr. Mike Malone.

CEREC or Regular Veneers

I told my dentist I wanted to get a smile makeover. He’s suggesting we do CEREC veneers. Are those as good as the porcelain veneers? I want to make sure I get the right material. Which would you recommend?

Olivia

Dear Olivia,

Block of porcelain for CEREC crowns

It is great that you’re trying to do research ahead of time. I wish more patients did that. I’m going to shift what you are researching though. The materials used do not matter nearly as much as the dentist who is working with the materials. Think of it this way. If two artists were given a block of the same type of marble and told to make a statue of the same person, would the statues turn out exactly the same? Of course not! One artist will definitely be superior to the other. Whether your dentist is creating CEREC veneers or traditional porcelain veneers, what matters most is his skill.

What I’d like you to look at is whether or not your dentist has the technical skill and artistry to pull this off. Doing a smile makeover using the CEREC veneers can be done, but only by top of the line cosmetic dentists. The reason for this is a CEREC machine mills your veneers or porcelain crowns out of a single block of porcelain. However, our teeth don’t have uniform levels of translucency.

In order for a cosmetic dentist to get these to look both beautiful and natural, he or she will need to know a lot of color theory and understand how the different stains available can manipulate the level of translucency and opaqueness in a tooth. Without that, you could end up with teeth that look fake and flat.

Is Your Dentist Good Enough to Do CEREC Veneers?

Before moving forward, I want you to ask your dentist for two things:

1. Ask him to see before and after pictures of recent CEREC veneers cases he’s personally done. If he doesn’t have any, find another dentist. If he does have some and you love the results, you will likely be okay to go ahead as long as he agrees to the second point. If you don’t love the results, find another dentist.

2. Make sure he’s willing to stand behind his work with a form of a beautiful smile guarantee. This should mean that he’ll put the veneers on with a try-in paste when he’s done and let you look at them in several different lightings. If you are not over the moon thrilled with them, he’ll re-do them. No veneers should be permanently bonded until you are ecstatic.

If these two things can’t be met. You need to find a better cosmetic dentist.

Finding an Expert Cosmetic Dentist

If I were getting a smile makeover, I”d want one of the best of the best cosmetic dentists. The easiest way to find those is to go to aacd.com. They have a “Find a dentist” link. You want to look for a cosmetic dentist in your area who has reached accreditation. They have a box you can check for accredited.

AACD accredited dentists have passed stringent oral and written exams as well as demonstrated their artistry on a large number of cases. Any one of them can give you a stunning smile.

This blog is brought to you by Lafayette Dentist Dr. Mike Malone.

Dental crown looks fake

I’ve had dental crowns before but they’ve always been on back teeth. This is my first one on a front tooth. My dentist did a CEREC crown which was very convenient. I liked that, but for some reason it looks really fake compared to the tooth next to it. It almsot has a painted, dull appearance. Is this typical of crowns? Is there a way to get them to look natural?

Dana

Dear Dana,

CEREC Crown being placed on a tooth
Whether or Not a Crown Looks Natural Depends on Two Things

A crown on a front tooth can look natural and blend in naturally. Whether or not that happens depends on two things:

  • The cosmetic skill of the dentist
  • The materials used

Getting a Beautiful Dental CEREC Crown

CEREC crowns are made of all-porcelain, which is great. Porcelain mimics the appearance of natural teeth by reflecting light. When you get traditional porcelain veneers, they are milled from several different blocks of porcelain.

Our natural teeth aren’t the same all the way down. If you look closely at your front teeth the bottom parts of your upper front teeth are more translucent than the middle parts of your teeth.

Even though it still requires an expert cosmetic dentist to place a dental crown on your front teeth, traditional all porcelain crowns are a little easier simply because they’re milled from several block of porcelain making it easier to get the different levels of opacity versus translucency.

With CEREC crowns, this is more challenging. They are milled from a single block of porcelain. That makes it harder to show the subtle differences in color. Dentists have to be very familiar with color theory and stains to get a front CEREC crown to look natural.

Without that, you end up with a flat looking front tooth as you’re experiencing.

Which Dentists Can Place a Crown on a Front Tooth?

Front teeth are more exposed, making it imperative the dentist has the right skills to match and blend the crown with the adjacent teeth exactly. In your place, I’d only use an AACD accredited cosmetic dentist. Dentists who’ve reached accreditation are the top cosmetic dentists in the world. You can go to aacd.com to find one in a reasonable distance to you.

This blog is brought to you by Louisiana Cosmetic Dentist Dr. Mike Malone.

Will CEREC Crowns Last with Teeth Grinding?

I like the idea of CEREC crowns but I’m not sure if they are durable enough. I have worn my teeth down because I grind them at night. I have a high-stress, security clearance job that I seem to internalize. But I really don’t have a choice. I can’t talk about it to anyone outside of my co-workers and I am limited to what I can say to some of them. My dentist recommended CEREC crowns. The machines in the office look new, so I asked how long she has been doing CEREC. She said it’s been about 8 months. Is this a gimmick that she is trying to pay for at my expense or can CEREC stand up against me grinding my teeth every night? I need 4 crowns. How long will they last? Thanks. TY

TY – Chronic bruxism, or teeth grinding, is a concern for your natural teeth and any type of crowns you receive—not just CEREC. Teeth grinding can cause your jaw and facial muscles to ache. It can also lead to neck pain and headaches. And you’ve seen the damage it has done to your teeth.

A Priority over CEREC Crowns

Photo of CEREC same-day crowns digital scanner and computer, and the milling machine, available for same day crowns from Mike Malone DDS in Lafayette, LA
CEREC technology

Your first concern should be limiting the effects of teeth grinding; it will protect your teeth and your CEREC crowns. We’re surprised that your dentist hasn’t recommended a customized night guard. A night guard is comfortably worn at night to reduce bruxism and control the impact it has on your teeth. You won’t have to wear a big, uncomfortable device that prevents you from sleeping well. Today’s night guards easily fit into your mouth and are comfortable to wear. Many patients report that they sleep better while wearing them.

How Long Will Your Crowns Last?

There are several factors involved with how long your crowns will last:

  • The lifespan of a dental crown is about 15 years if you take good care of it. The same is true of a CEREC crown. Some crowns last even longer.
  • It’s important to get a custom night guard to protect your new crowns and the rest of your natural teeth. Without the protection, the pressure on your teeth can cause the crowns to crack.
  • CEREC crowns are made of porcelain. They are a durable option for protecting worn or broken teeth.

Ask your dentist about a custom night guard. If for some reason she is hesitant to fit you for one, we recommend that you get a second opinion from a dentist who has many years of experience with CEREC and dental crowns.

This post is sponsored by Mike Malone, DDS, an accredited cosmetic dentist in Lafayette, LA.

3 Unexpected facts about CEREC crowns

If you’re considering same day crowns, that’s great. They’re useful and convenient. Here are three things your dentist may not have told you yet.

Block of porcelain for CEREC crowns

They are Not Billed Any Differently

When dentists bill your insurance, they use codes. The codes for crowns, whether you are using traditional crowns or same-day crowns, they’re billed by the material used, not the brand.

While your dentist spent a small fortune on the machine, he is making up on lab fees by having it milled right in the office. This means you shouldn’t have to pay more for a CEREC crown than a traditional crown.

Only the BEST Cosmetic Dentists Can Place Them on Front Teeth

Because they’re milled from a single block of porcelain, they don’t have all the subtleties your natural teeth have. A dentist has to be very versed in color theory and have exceptional skills.

If your dentist is recommending a CEREC crown on an anterior (front) tooth, you need to check their qualifications. Ask to see samples of CEREC work they’ve done on front teeth.

If it’s important to you to have the crown done on the same day, you’ll want to take the precaution of going to a dentist who has achieved accreditation with the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. AACD accredited dentists are the top of their field.

They Don’t Whiten

Often patients decide they want their teeth whiter at a certain point. However, the color made on your dental crowns (CEREC or traditional) is meant to be permanent.

The whitening gel used even in professional teeth whitening only works on natural tooth structure. It saves you money in the long run to whiten your teeth before having your dental crown made. This way when the dentist does do it, you’ll have it match the color you’ll be proud of.

It’s not required, of course. You can whiten later. It just means you’ll have to have your crown re-made to match.

This blog is brought to you by Lafayette Dentist Dr. Mike Malone.