Choosing Between CEREC and Traditional Crowns

If your tooth is severely damaged or decayed, you can save it with a CEREC or traditional crown. Both options will strengthen and restore your natural tooth, but the process is different. Compare the two restorations so you can select one. Then your dentist can save your tooth by protecting it with a dental crown.

CEREC vs. traditional crowns

In the past, patients could choose the crown material but nothing else. The procedure was the same, regardless of the material selected. Now, patients can select the crown procedure as well. Before selecting, patients must educate themselves on CEREC and traditional crowns. After learning about the two procedures, it is easy to select one.

Procedure time

When choosing between CEREC and traditional crowns, one must consider the length of time the process takes. CEREC crowns are placed in a single visit. Dentists prepare the tooth, fabricate the crown and cement it in place within two hours. Traditional crowns require two visits. Dentists prepare the tooth, take impressions and place temporary crowns during the first visit. Patients come back to get the permanent crown after the dental laboratory finishes fabricating it.

The materials

CEREC crowns are made of porcelain. Porcelain crowns can be used on front and back teeth. However, people who have excessively strong or misaligned bites often require crowns made of porcelain fused to metal or gold. The material is stronger and less likely to wear due to chewing and biting forces. These crowns must be fabricated in a dental laboratory.

Patients can choose from a variety of materials for traditional crowns. Along with porcelain, patients can get crowns made of porcelain fused to metal, metal alloys and gold alloys. Crowns with metal are stronger than crowns made of porcelain. However, all crowns should last for years.

Temporary crowns

Patients who choose CEREC crowns receive the permanent crown during the first visit. However, those who get traditional crowns leave the office with temporary crowns. Temporary crowns are not as durable as permanent crowns. The crowns are prone to cracking and falling out, so patients must be careful. Many people choose same-day crowns so they can avoid wearing temporary crowns.


Both CEREC and traditional crowns look like natural teeth. Dentists and dental lab technicians match the color and shape of the teeth. Lab-crafted crowns typically match the color of the natural teeth more closely. However, the impressions used for CEREC crowns allow the milling machine to match the shape and contours of the teeth more closely. Dentists often recommend traditional crowns for the front teeth due to the color match and CEREC crowns for the back teeth since the ridges and contours are such a good fit.

Choosing a dental crown

If you are not sure which dental crown is right for you, talk to your dentist. Your dentist will go over the procedure, the materials and what to expect right after the procedure. Your dentist will also talk about the esthetics with you to help you make a decision. Then you can move forward with your dental crown procedure.

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