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3 Options Commonly Used for Creating Dental Crowns. Understand Which Option Is Best for Your Smile

Posted in Dental Crowns

Posted on December, 28 2022 by George Talmazov, DDS, MSD

Dental crowns are used to restore teeth that have been broken, worn down, or discoloredThese dental restorations are also used to complete dental implant treatment and provide a natural-looking and secure restoration for missing teeth.

While dental crowns are durable and can improve the appearance of your smile, not all are created equal.

Whether you are missing natural teeth or have teeth that need to be capped, it is essential to know your options when choosing crowns for your smile. The following are three options for creating dental restorations to help you understand which option is best for you. They each require precision and attention to detail during fabrication to obtain the best, long-lasting results.

Option 1: Made with Computerized Milling

One way to make dental crowns is to use Computer-Aided Design and Manufacturing, also called CAD/CAM.  A library of tooth models with a software program is used for design, and machines cut the dental crown from a block of solid material.

While these crowns are fast and inexpensive to create compared to truly customized crowns, they have their limitations [1]. Their translucency does not match the natural teeth, which can give your smile a more artificial appearance. While we do not use fully milled crowns in the anterior aesthetic zone, we sometimes place them on the back teeth where strength and durability are important factors.

In most offices, the technicians who create crowns using CAD/CAM technology are frequently not trained lab technicians with knowledge and skill of dental anatomy and dental color theory; they are usually computer CAD technicians. In our office, our prosthodontists and in-office technician fabricate all of our crowns whether custom fabricated or CAD/CAM designed generating the best fit possible.

Option 2: Fabricated Off-Site in a Commercial Lab

A second option for crown creation is to have the crown fabricated off-site in a commercial lab. These laboratories are not associated with the dental practice and act as third-party workshops to create dental restorations.

Dental laboratory technicians and businesses are typically not licensed even though the American Dental Association encourages it; therefore, it’s difficult to achieve and maintain uniform quality with third-party lab-fabricated dental crowns [2].

Although commercial labs can be reliable, they do not provide for expedient fabrication with great quality control and best aesthetics. From a logistical perspective, such commercial centers are not on-site making chair-side customization impossible.

Option 3: Handcrafted in an In-Office Lab

Handcrafted dental crowns are fabricated in a private lab within the dental practice and are the “gold standard”. Due to the direct collaboration between dentist and technician, these restorations are generally the best option for patients. They provide a proper fit and a natural color with translucency . With stringent quality control directly from the treating provider, the strength and durability of these custom crowns can make them last for decades. In addition, the in-office dental lab provides for the means of creating the most comprehensive patient-centered experience.

When you work with a specialty practice such as Elite Prosthetic Dentistry that maintains an in-office laboratory for crown creation, the technicians work directly with you to ensure a perfect fit and color to match your custom aesthetics for a crown you can be proud of.

Since our technicians have complete control over the process, these dental crowns are much more realistic and attractive with internal color for a 3D effect. As such, we are able to consistently  provide the highest quality crowns, veneers, inlays and implant abutments and restorations that are very long lasting. For example, our restorative process has generated crowns lasting over 35 years-a tradition that cannot be matched (3-4 X the national average).

Which Option Is Right for You?

While you have options when having a dental crown made, handcrafted dental crowns are always the best choice for patients. They provide the most durable, realistic, and best fit to restore their smile. If you have questions about how our dental crowns are made or want to know more about how you can restore your smile, we invite you to contact Elite Prosthetic Dentistry today for a consultation.


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