How to Choose the Right Dental Crown to Protect Your Tooth

If you have a weakened but otherwise healthy tooth that needs added strength or protection, a dental crown is a very effective solution.

Dental crowns are a dual-purpose form of restorative and cosmetic dental care, meaning they restore a tooth’s structural integrity while also improving its shape or appearance. They’re often used to cover a tooth after damage from decay or breakage, but they’re also used to form prosthetic teeth for dental implants or dental bridges.

Generally speaking, all dental crowns perform the same function of covering a tooth with a durable material that becomes your tooth’s new outer surface. However, there are two different ways to get your healthy new tooth—either a same day crown or a lab created crown.

To help you make the right choice we’re going to cover the three main factors that could affect you as a patient.

Same Day Crown vs. Lab Created Crown: Convenience

Same day crowns really set themselves apart from lab created crowns when it comes to the convenience factor. Same day crowns offer much quicker results thanks to how efficiently they are created.

Same day crowns are milled right in your dentist’s office.

As their name suggests, same day crowns are created in a single day or a single dental appointment. This is possible through the use of advanced ceramic milling systems designed for dental use. Cooley-Bentz Dental Associates use the E4D Dentist system.

The process of getting a same day crown is a breeze for patients. Your dentist will use a handheld laser scanner to capture a 3D image of your tooth to create a virtual model with the E4D software. Within the software program, your dentist will design your dental crown to perfectly match your smile and fit seamlessly between your neighboring teeth.

Once the 3D model is complete the E4D milling system will begin creating your new crown with special ceramic material color-matched to your smile. Once milling is complete your new crown is ready to be fitted, placed, and polished for a final finish.

With a same day crown, there are no extra appointments or steps needed. You’ll simply walk out of your dentist’s office with a brand new dental crown.

Lab created crowns can take a few weeks to complete.

Lab created crowns require you to wait a few weeks before your tooth is finally fitted with a permanent crown.

The process of a lab created or traditional crown is more of a drawn-out process because your dentist will need to send molds and images of your tooth to a lab. The lab’s technicians will be in charge of designing your new crown using porcelain, metal, or porcelain-fused-to-metal (PFTM) materials.

In the meantime, you’ll need to wear a temporary crown. Temporary crowns can often feel uncomfortable. A lost temporary crown will require additional dental appointments to replace as you won’t want your tooth exposed and susceptible to damage.

Once your permanent crown arrives you’ll return to your dentist to have it fitted and permanently placed.

Same Day Crown vs. Lab Created Crown: Appearance

Same day crowns and lab created crowns both result in a beautiful new tooth with a natural appearance. However, the materials used in the creation of your crown do have an effect on how it will look.

Lab created porcelain crowns allow for an ultra-realistic finish.

A porcelain dental crown crafted by an experienced dental lab will generally yield the most realistic finish for a natural tooth. The porcelain material itself has a texture very similar to natural tooth enamel. Coupled with a lab’s ability to custom-color the crown to mimic a tooth’s natural color gradient from top to bottom, a lab created crown is hard to beat.

For this reason, a dentist may recommend a lab created dental crown for their patient if it will be placed on a highly visible front tooth, even if they offer same day crowns as well.

Same day dental crowns are more realistic than ever before.

Same day crowns may not be as ultra-realistic as lab created crowns, but that doesn’t mean that they aren’t still exceptionally beautiful. A skilled dentist can color-match and polish a ceramic same day crown to the point it would be difficult to tell the crown from a natural tooth.

For teeth that aren’t immediately visible like a front tooth, same day dental crowns will blend in flawlessly. Coupled with the huge advantage of convenience, a same day crown is an excellent choice with a realistic finish.

Same Day Crown vs. Lab Created Crown: Durability

Durability is the final factor and one that may be the most important in the long run. The longer your dental crown lasts, the healthier your smile will be.

A same day crown and a lab created crown have comparable longevity.

In years past metal and porcelain lab created crowns were the winners in this category. However, advances in dental ceramics and milling technology mean same day ceramic crowns now last just as long. On average, both same day crowns and lab created crowns will last about 10 to 15 years, and sometimes even longer.

Where durability does differ is the strength of the crown. Metal and PFTM lab created crowns do have an edge in terms of strength. For this reason, a dentist may suggest a lab created crown for a molar on a patient who has bruxism or TMJ disorder.

For the average patient, an E4D milled same day crown is quite strong and will last over a decade with proper oral hygiene.

Schedule your dental crown consultation with Dr. Cooley-Bentz.

The next step for you to take is to schedule a consultation with Cooley-Bentz Dental Associates.

During your consultation, Dr. Cooley-Bentz will evaluate your oral health and the tooth in question that needs a crown. She’ll go over some of the same information covered here in a way that applies directly to your individual needs. You’ll learn more about same day crowns and the E4D Dentist system she uses for creating them.

In the event a same day crown may not be the best choice for your smile, Dr. Cooley-Bentz will guide you through the process of a lab created crown instead.

When you’re ready to book your appointment, you can either call our office or fill out this quick online form. If this is your first time visiting Cooley-Bentz Dental Associates, you can find a printable New Patient Form right here.