Dental crowns are the gold standard in tooth restorations. Cracked, broken or damaged teeth can be repaired with crowns. Plus, dental restorations for missing teeth like dental implants and bridges may use crowns in their procedures. Crowns can even be used in cosmetic dentistry to create a beautiful smile. If you need a tooth restoration, how long does a crown take to perform? If you wonder, “How long does it take to get a crown?” here is what you need to know about this dental procedure.
What Is a Dental Crown?
A dental crown is a restoration that fits over a tooth. It can be made from metal, ceramic, porcelain or a combination of materials. The goal of a dental crown is to cover the entire surface area of the tooth and provide a suitable biting surface. The material used depends on different factors, including the position of the tooth, color preference and budget. Metal crowns are more durable and may be recommended for back molars that use more force to chew. However, many patients prefer a white crown for aesthetics.
Dental crowns can protect a tooth that has been damaged, or it can hide dental flaws. Teeth that have large fillings or have received a root canal can benefit from a dental crown for protection. Dental crowns can be connected to implant abutments to replace missing teeth or used to anchor a dental bridge to adjacent teeth. How long does it take to put a crown on? It depends on the methods used for a dental crown procedure.
How Dental Crowns Are Created
To create the shape of the crown, a mold must be made for the dental laboratory. The standard option is to make a physical mold of the tooth using a special dental cement – this is put in the mouth with a tray and held in place until the cement cures. Some dental offices have advanced imaging equipment that can use a 3D scanner to create the “mold” without the need for a physical impression. Not only do you need an impression of the tooth, but also how it fits with the teeth above and around it.
The mold or impression of the tooth is sent to a dental lab that creates the crown. If needed, the patient is fitted with a temporary crown to cover the tooth until the permanent tooth arrives. Once the new crown is ready, it can be fitted to the tooth and bonded in place. Dental crowns can last for decades, but they are susceptible to damage like natural teeth surfaces.
How Long Does it Take to Get a Crown?
Dental crown procedures can take as little as one visit to your dentist, or it may take a few weeks for your permanent crown to be created and then bonded into place. It depends on the type of crown, the technology used and the equipment used at your dental office. Some dental practices offer CEREC® (chairside economical restoration of esthetic ceramic) dental crowns that can be completed the same day, while other dentists may use a traditional dental lab and methods.
CEREC dental crowns can be competed in a few hours at your dentist’s office. The procedure involves preparing the tooth for the crown, usually removing enough tooth material to fit the crown restoration. A 3D scan is used to create the digital impression of the crown and bite, which is sent to the CEREC software and computerized milling device in the office. CEREC uses a 3D printer to create the new crown while you wait, usually in less than an hour. Once it is completed, it is fitted and bonded in place.
For conventional dental crowns made in a dental lab, the process is much longer, and it usually takes at least two visits. The initial visit will take about 1-2 hours to prepare the tooth and take the tooth impression. The impression is used to make a temporary crown and to send to the dental laboratory to make the permanent crown. The temporary crown is placed on the tooth during the initial visit – it protects the tooth and allows for chewing until the permanent crown arrives.
The second dental crown visit is shorter, usually less than an hour. The temporary crown is removed, and the permanent crown is placed and fitted. Small adjustments may be needed for fitting, then the crown can be bonded in place. If the crown does not fit even with adjustment, new impressions may be needed, and another crown will be ordered. This requires the tooth to be re-covered with a temporary crown until the new dental crown arrives.
How long does a crown take to perform? It depends on the type of dental crown and technology used – CEREC or same-day crowns can be performed in a few hours, but they are also more expensive. To find out how long it will take to get your dental crown, talk to your dental care provider.