Dental implants are arguably the best restorative option compared to semi-permanent solutions, like dentures. In fact, Colgate.com says that not only are these restorations natural looking, but that they are so durable that they can last as long as 25 years!
So what if the crown on top of your implant wears down before that time? While that can be a frustrating prospect, restoring the crown doesn't have to take as long as the initial implantation process. While you may have had to wait many months for bone to integrate with the implant, you don't have to wait that long to fix the damaged crown sitting on top. Believe it or not, there are many dentists who can perform same-day crown procedures.
How do same-day restorations work?
In the past, your dentist would have to take a mold of your teeth, send that mold to a lab, and have a lab technician construct a false tooth. Today, however, dentists can bypass all of this with CEREC technology. CEREC stands for "Chairside Economical Restoration of Esthetic Ceramics." Instead of sending a mold to a lab, your dentist can make the crown in the office with a computer-aided design and manufacturing.
The dentist will scan your teeth with a special camera, input that scan into a computer, and let a computer-aided machine "print" your tooth's shape into a ceramic block.
What are the benefits of these restorations?
Again, you do not have to go weeks or months without a crown on the implant post. This means that you can continue eating and speaking without any problems. If you don't have time to go to multiple appointments because of a busy schedule, this is a perfect solution since you only have to wait a couple of hours to get everything fitted.
Because CAD/CAM devices scan your natural teeth and gaps, these restorations can be more precise than those made in a lab. While lab technicians can create highly detailed crowns, these may still have small imperfections that have to be shaved down during installation. Because a CEREC computer will be calculating measurements and carving the crown during same-day procedures, you cut out the human-error factor.
Do a little research online, and you'll see that dentists who do use CEREC must be trained and certified in this method, so it is considered a very safe option.
How do you know if you're a candidate for same-day crowns?
If you have an otherwise healthy implant that has integrated firmly into the jawbone, you are most likely a good candidate. If you have a contraindication, like diabetes, or a lifestyle choice, like smoking, that can affect healing, you can still most likely undergo CEREC as long as you are doing things to keep the underlying implant healthy. Of course, you'll have to discuss these kinds of issues with your dentist beforehand.
How do you keep this new restoration from failing?
As previously mentioned, certain issues can affect your healing and the crown's longevity. So if you have diabetes, you need to stay on top of your glucose levels and diet. If you smoke, consider cutting back or trying to quit. While implant crowns are made of durable materials, nothing beats your own natural enamel. This means you should wear a mouthguard if you have tendencies toward bruxism. Avoid chewing ice and other objects that would wear down the crown. While same-day restorations are a godsend, you don't want to do this procedure more than you need to since insurance companies may not cover relatively new crowns!
Talk with a dentist at offices like Tijeras Dental Service for more information on same-day crowns and taking care of your restorations.