A crown is a type of dental restoration which completely caps or encircles a tooth or dental implant. Crowns are often needed when a large cavity threatens the ongoing health of a tooth or when a tooth is weakened by a heavy bite. A bridge is a fixed dental restoration used to replace a missing tooth by joining an artificial tooth permanently to adjacent teeth or dental implants. They are typically bonded to the tooth using a dental cement.
Crowns and bridges can be made from many materials. Traditionally, they were made by taking a dental impression of a prepared tooth to fabricate the prosthesis outside of the mouth. It was then inserted at a subsequent dental appointment. Using this indirect method of tooth restoration allows use of strong restorative materials requiring time consuming fabrication methods requiring intense heat, such as casting metal or firing porcelain which would not be possible to complete inside the mouth.
At Oak Tree Ballarat Dental, we are proud to be able to provide the fabrication of crowns and bridges in house with the latest model of the CEREC. CEREC stands for Chairside Economical Restoration of Esthetic Ceramics and refers to a method of CAD/CAM dentistry developed in 1980 for creating dental restorations. Using CAD/CAM (computer-aided design and computer-aided manufacturing), this process allows dentists to construct, produce, and insert individual ceramic restorations directly at the point of treatment (chairside) in a single appointment rather than over multiple appointments with labside work in between.
CEREC technology makes it possible to produce and integrate ceramic restorations in a single appointment. Unlike dental amalgam (silver fillings) or gold, ceramic is more biocompatible and boasts tooth-like physical and aesthetic qualities. In addition, digital impressions are more comfortable for patients than traditional impressions which can be bulky.
CEREC crowns and bridges require minimal adjustment due to the digital mapping technology that charts the inside of the patient’s mouth completely accurately and down to the last detail. According to studies, the ten-year lifespan of CEREC restorations polished and milled with the aid of a computer is not only significantly longer than that of gold fillings, but also exceeds that of individually laboratory-manufactured ceramic fillings. The success rate of CEREC restorations is 95.5 percent after nine years and 84 percent after 18 years.