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How Long Does a Dental Crown Take?

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A close up of a pair of dental crowns against a white background.

A dental crown is a procedure that can restore the function of a damaged tooth while improving the tooth’s overall appearance and enhancing your smile. Dental caps help bridge gaps between general and cosmetic dentistry.   

Before advancements in dental technology, receiving a dental crown from your dentist would require multiple sessions over a few hours. Dental crowns can be completed on the same day using chairside economical restoration of esthetic ceramic (CEREC) technology. They are quick, simple, and comfortable procedures that take up to 3 hours.  

What Is a Dental Crown?

A dental crown, or “cap,” is a tooth-shaped covering placed over a tooth to restore its shape, size, and strength and to improve its appearance. Dental crowns encase the visible portion of the tooth when it becomes heavily damaged or if it requires reinforcement after a root canal treatment.

The material of the crown can be customized to match the colour of the adjacent teeth, providing a natural-looking solution for dental problems. Dental caps are made from strong-tooth-like materials that allow for comfortable chewing and speaking.  

Who Can Benefit From a Dental Crown?

Dental crowns are a versatile solution for several dental issues:

  • Protecting a weak tooth from breaking or holding together parts of a cracked tooth
  • Restoring a tooth that is already broken
  • Covering and supporting a tooth with a large filling 
  • Holding a dental bridge in place
  • Covering misshapen or discoloured teeth
  • Covering a dental implant
  • Making a cosmetic modification to your teeth

While crowns can be a restorative solution for various dental problems, your dentist will determine the appropriate treatment option for your dental concern. 

Same-Day Dental Crowns with CERC Technology

Traditionally, getting a dental crown involves multiple visits to the dentist that would last a few hours. With advancements in dental technology, like CEREC, procedures like dental crowns, including tooth preparation, impressions, restorations, and adjustments, can be completed during one visit to the dental clinic. 

CEREC uses 3D photography and CAD/CAM technology (computer-aided design and computer-aided manufacturing) to assist a dentist in designing a strong ceramic crown. 3D photography eliminates the need for your dentist to mail your impressions to an external laboratory to manufacture the crown and deliver it back. 

If you decide not to use CEREC technology for your dental crown, that’s okay! However, you won’t be able to get your dental crown in a single visit. 

Unfortunately, CEREC does not work for all dental crown procedures. In some cases, your dentist may decide that the traditional dental crown route is better suited for your dental needs. 

How Long Does a Crown Procedure Take?

A dentist shows her patient the results of the digital imaging of her teeth.

With CEREC technology, the entire dental crown procedure, from prepping and cleaning the tooth to manufacturing the crown, placing it, and waiting between steps, can take about 2 to 3 hours. During this time, a patient may spend up to 50 minutes in the exam chair waiting for the crown to set. 

The first step in getting your dental crown is a consultation with your dentist. Once your dentist approves your candidacy, we can prepare for the procedure! 

  • Preparing the tooth: The first step is to prepare the tooth, which involves cleaning and numbing the area. Your dentist may file down and reshape the tooth to allow the crown to fit over it nicely.  
  • Digital imaging and crown design: Once the area is prepared, your dentist will use a specialized camera to take digital images (impressions) of the tooth. These scans will be used to create a 3D model of your tooth. Your dentist will help make sure the model fits within your bite and lines up properly with the surrounding teeth. 
  • Milling the crown: The 3D design is sent to the CEREC milling machine, where a ceramic block is shaped into your custom crown. Before bonding the ceramic crown to your tooth, your dentist will check to make sure the crown fits your bite nicely. If any adjustments are needed, your dentist will mill out another crown. 
  • Placing the crown: Once the crown is ready and your dentist is satisfied with the alignment and fit, it’s coloured and polished to match the rest of your teeth. Your dentist will then cement the crown in place. 
  • Final adjustments: After placing the crown, your dentist will make any final adjustments to make sure it fits correctly. 

After your dental crown is placed, it is important to follow your dentist’s instructions for post-procedure care. This may include watching your diet and practicing good oral hygiene. In some cases, a follow-up appointment may be necessary.

The Benefits of CEREC Dental Crowns

One major benefit of CEREC dental crowns is the convenience of a same-day crown procedure. The treatment is quick, taking up to 3 hours to complete. This eliminates the need for a temporary crown, which is great for individuals experiencing a dental emergency.  

Your dentist is in control of the treatment and procedure throughout the process. They control the crown’s manufacturer, design, and milling, making adjustments quick and efficient. 

CEREC crowns use digital scans to create impressions instead of traditional impressions, which can be uncomfortable for some patients. This helps to make the CEREC crown procedure relatively simple, quick, and comfortable

The lifespan of a dental crown can vary depending on factors such as regular brushing, flossing, dental exams, and cleanings. With proper care, CEREC crowns can last for up to 10 years.

Schedule Your Consult With Us! 

Advancements in dental technology have allowed procedures like dental crowns to become relatively quick, simple, and comfortable. With CEREC technology, same-day dental crown appointments require just one session for the procedure, which can take up to 3 hours.  

Regular brushing, flossing, dental exams, and cleanings can help your dental crowns last up to 10 years and help maintain a beautiful, healthy smile. Schedule a visit with our team at Shin Dental for your CEREC dental crown consult! 

Written by Dr. Charles Shin

After graduating from the University of Western Ontario’s School of Dentistry in 1999, Dr. Charles Shin practiced in Burlington, Ontario before making the move to Stouffville in 2003 to open his own practice: Shin Dentistry.
Since then, Dr. Shin has never stopped his pursuit of learning, continuing his education at the Las Vegas Institute of Advanced Dental Studies while also staying current with the latest technology in dentistry.

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