Category Archives: CEREC

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.

Dentist Said No to CEREC Crowns

My dentist has a CEREC machine. We’ve used it for a crown before, but on a tooth on my bottom arch. Now I need one on my top front tooth and he’s saying “No”. He said they don’t look good on front teeth. I truly liked the convenience. Plus, he wants to crown both front teeth to make them match. Is this legitimate?

Anna

Dear Anna,

Block of porcelain for CEREC crowns

You should be aware that only the top cosmetic dentists in the world can match a single crown to a front tooth. That is even more challenging when it comes to using CEREC. If convenience is what you’re after, go with the two crowns and traditional crowns. I’ll explain why in a moment. If you want gorgeous front teeth with just one crown, you’ll need to find an expert cosmetic dentist.

Matching a Single Crown to a Front Tooth

Your front teeth are right next to each other and much more exposed to the light. Even the slightest deviations will be very noticeable. It will be quite obvious your teeth won’t match.

With even the best dentists, it will take a few try-ins before it matches perfectly. That could go faster with CEREC crowns because it’s milled right there and not sent to a lab. It will still likely take more than one try. This method will take even more skill.

With a CEREC crown, that’s even harder because they are milled from a single block of porcelain. Traditional porcelain crowns use several blocks with variations in opacity. Your dentist would have to be very versed in color theory skills which are not taught in dental school. It’s obvious your dentist doesn’t have that training.

It’s actually showing his integrity that he’s being honest with you. He could have bluffed his way through and given sad looking results.

Finding the Cosmetic Dentist Who Can Do Gorgeous CEREC Crowns

Truthfully, because of the difficulty of this type of case, to get a beautiful, natural looking result which will match your other front tooth, you’ll need to go to a dentist accredited with the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry.

AACD accredited dentists have gone through stringent oral and written exams as well as proven their artistry with a large number of cases they’ve done and provided evidence for. All of them have gone through extensive training in advanced cosmetic procedures after graduating dental school.

What it boils down to in this particular case is what’s more important to you— a convenient, fast result, or a natural looking attractive result.

It is definitely your smile and your choice. Don’t feel pressured to go a way you don’t want.

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

Help! Which Crown Should I Get?

I need to get a dental crown on a tooth. My dentist threw all these options at me. While he did explain everything, it was all so fast I can’t remember. I told him I’d let him know this week. I tried to do some research but everything is so confusing. Help!

Lacey

Dear Lacey,

CEREC Crown being placed on a tooth

Sometimes dentists think you can understand everything in 5 minutes that they studied all the way through dental school. Sounds easy, right?

It’s good that you’re doing some research. It’s important to go into these type of decisions informed. One thing to be aware of is that you should always feel free to tell your dentist to slow down and to repeat himself if necessary. You should never feel rushed.

To help, I’ll go over the three most common types of dental crowns.

Three Most Common Dental Crowns

The first has been in place for many years and it’s been a staple in the dental diet. These are conventional crowns, also known as porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns. As their name implies, these have porcelain on top and a metal base underneath. These are best used for back teeth because of the amount of biting force we use with our back teeth. If you have a metal allergy, there are metal-free options.

The second type is all-porcelain crowns. These have porcelain all the way through, even as it’s underside. These are especially useful for front teeth because they look more natural than their metal-based counterparts. With front teeth, there is a completely different biting force and these can withstand the pressure.

Thirdly, there are CEREC crowns. These are also all-porcelain. The biggest differences are they are milled by machine using a single block of porcelain. As a result, they’re able to be done in just one appointment. Be aware, unless you have a highly skilled cosmetic dentist, these won’t have the same subtleties that the non-machine milled crowns will have which are made from several different blocks that have different shades.

There’s really not a horrible choice, though I never recommend metal-based crowns on front teeth. You won’t like the results. I hope this helps.

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

CEREC Crowns and Thyroid Issues

I have severe thyroid issues and find it important to make sure my dental work is metal free, as well as containing no lithium. I’m considering CEREC crown. I asked my dentist about these issues and he said my information is false and there’s no point in even answering the question. This annoyed me and made me wonder if it was safe for me to get one. Do you have information for me?

Alyssa

Dear Alyssa,

Block of porcelain for CEREC crowns

Before we start, I’m going to let you know this isn’t the best dentist for you. While I won’t say you’ll need a holistic dentist, you will need a dentist who will be willing to care about your concerns. This one obviously doesn’t.

CEREC Crowns are Metal-Free

Because CEREC crowns are milled from a single block of porcelain, you don’t have to worry about a metal base. Though you can get all-porcelain crowns even with traditional crowns, there are also some that have a metal base, so if you ever get a traditional crown, make sure to specify you want an all-porcelain crown.

CEREC Crowns can be Lithium Free

Dentists have quite a few options in the types of tooth-colored materials available in block form. Only one of them is lithium disilicate-based. There haven’t been any studies to date on this lithium with the thyroid. The lithium which is under scrutiny for leading to hypothyroidism is the lithium prescribed to bipolar patients.

However, for your own peace of mind, it’s best if you let your dentist know of your concerns ahead of time. It’s simple enough for him to avoid that one type for your sake. Just give him a head’s up.

Dentists should factor in the concerns of their patients. Though many try to assume they know more because “they’re the professional who has the dental degree”, it’s your body. No one knows your body better than you do.

Additionally, neither dentists nor doctors have accumulated the sum of all knowledge and understanding when it comes to medical care. We’re still developing knowledge. Therefore, if a patient feels a type of material has a negative impact on them, we should listen.

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

Are CEREC Crowns Better for Anxious Patients?

I have never been crazy about going to the dentist. I had a toothache and decided to go in because it means something is wrong. It turns out I have a large cavity. Now I have to have a dental crown. I’m really nervous about this. What can I expect?

Belinda

Dear Belinda,

A tooth receiving a CEREC crown

It’s good that you went in. The fact that you did despite your dental anxiety means you are courageous. If you’d allowed your fear to get the better of you, you would have ended up with a dental infection. That would have meant an additional procedure of a root canal treatment. Or, possibly your tooth would not be able to be saved and you’d need to have it extracted and replaced. To get a great replacement, like a dental implant, requires surgery. Obviously, you made the right decision.

What to expect depends on the type of dental crown you’re getting. Did your dentist mention whether you’re getting a traditional crown or a CEREC crown?

What to Expect with a Traditional Crown

If you’re getting a traditional crown, it takes two visits. First, your dentist will have to remove any decay as well as grind down enough tooth structure to make room for the dental crown. You can see how small your natural tooth has to be in the image above. After that, your dentist will make an impression of your teeth and fit you with a temporary crown. The impression will be sent to the lab to make your permanent crown.

It takes a couple of weeks for the permanent crown to be made and sent to your dental office. Then your dentist will call you, fit you with the permanent crown and bond it on.

What to Expect with a CEREC Crown

Given your anxiety, this will be a better option for you. First, they can be done in just one appointment. That minimizes how often you have to come in. Second, many patients hate having to do impressions. The goo is messy and bad tasting. With CEREC crowns, you just have a digital image made and a computer designs the crown. Not only is this less nerve-racking, but it’s also faster and more accurate.

While you’re at the office, the computer will mill the crown immediately and your dentist can then bond it on before you leave.

This is a must simpler procedure. Plus, if you’re still nervous, it’s very compatible with a sedation such as nitrous oxide which can relax you.

A Front Tooth Requires an Expert Cosmetic Dentist

You didn’t mention which tooth is being crowned. If it’s a front tooth, there’s an additional consideration. It’s very challenging to match a single crown to a front tooth. You will need to find a dentist with both technical expertise and artistry.

In your place, I’d look for a dentist who has reached accreditation with the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. Simply go to aacd.com and look for an AACD accredited dentist in your area. They can give you a beautiful crown that blends in perfectly with your other front tooth.

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

Which Dentists Do CEREC Crowns on Front Teeth?

I keep hearing no CEREC crowns on front teeth, but surely there have to be dentists who do it. Is there a way to go about finding those dentists?

May

Dear May,

Machine for CEREC Crowns
Can you get beautiful crowns from a CEREC machine?

Great question! You can certainly find a dentist who will give you a CEREC crown on your front teeth, but what you want is a dentist who can do it well. The first thing you need to look for is a top-notch cosmetic dentist. The best of the best are dentists who’ve reached accreditation level with the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. AACD accredited dentists are among the top 1% of dentists in the country.

If it’s milled by machine, why does the dentist need to be so artistic? Another great question. It’s specifically because they’re milled by machine. Until recently, CEREC machines would only mill from a single block of porcelain. There are new machines which can mill with gradients. But, many dentists just finished investing in the older CEREC machines and aren’t able to scrap it for the new one. They don’t come cheap.

That doesn’t mean they can’t create you a gorgeous crown. With expertise in color theory, they can create the gradient with the way they color the tooth. But again, only the best of the best can do that.

Consideration When Getting Crowns on Front Teeth

When you’re talking about the most visible part of your smile, you want it to be as beautiful as possible. Once the crown is created, the color on it cannot be changed. You not only want the tooth to look natural and beautiful, but to match the surrounding teeth as well.

So, if your teeth are in need of a little brightening, the time to do it is before your crown is created. Teeth whitening is a quick and easy way to give your smile a boost. If you want, you can even do it in just one appointment using in-office Zoom Whitening.

Once you have the color you’re pleased with, your dentist can match the CEREC crown to it exactly.

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