At my last check-up, my dentist said I need three crowns. I wasn’t too surprised I needed them, but he’s pretty insistent I get CEREC crowns. My insurance doesn’t cover those and they’re more expensive. I’m not sure I want to invest in something more expensive just because it’s the newest thing unless I know it’s as reliable as the regular crowns. Do you have an opinion on this?

Louis A.

Dear Louis,

A CEREC Machine
When Should You Get a CEREC Crown?

A lot of whether or not a dental crown is reliable depends more on the dentist than anything else. Some dentists get better results than others. However, there are times when a CEREC crown is better than a traditional one. There are times it’s the other way around as well.

Because they’re computer milled, CEREC crowns often fit better. They do well in front and side teeth, but aren’t always strong enough for back teeth. For those, you may prefer a zirconia crown or a porcelain fused to metal crown.

Their biggest benefit is you can have your three crowns done in one visit, without a temporary crown. Other than that, everything else truly depends on the skill of your dentist.

If you decide you want a CEREC crown, your dentist can bill the insurance for the regular crown and you just pay the difference, which isn’t too substantial.

Some Considerations with CEREC Crowns

Placement is the biggest issue. If it’s going to be visible and you’ve ever wanted to whiten your teeth do the teeth whitening before you have the crown milled. If it’s a visible side tooth, that should be sufficient for an attractive looking smile.

However, if it’s a front tooth, you’ll want a traditional crown. CEREC crowns are milled out of a single block of porcelain which, though beautiful does not have all the subtleties necessary for a front tooth. You’ll want something sculpted from various blocks so that the right level of translucency comes across at the appropriate parts of the tooth. Otherwise, it can look a little flat compared to the tooth next to it. You’ll know it’s a little different without knowing why. It will still be attractive, just not as attractive as it could have been.

Again, each dentist’s skills vary in this area, so ask to see sample before and after pictures of their work.

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