Monday, January 21, 2013

“Crowns in one visit? You can do that?”

“Crowns in one visit?  You can do that?”



“Well, we have a new machine, the Cerec Omnicam, which allows us to do everything in about 2 hours.  There are 3 parts to the machine: a small video camera, a computer program, and a milling machine.  After we remove the damaged parts of your tooth we take a 3-D color video image of your teeth.”

“Wait! You don’t need to use that gooey stuff to make a mold of my teeth?”

“That’s right; no more messy goo is needed to go into your mouth to take an impression.  Once I know that we have enough information from the video, I use the computer program to help me design the crown that is needed to restore your tooth.  Then, we send that information to the milling machine that will create the crown out of a ceramic block immediately while you wait.”

“I really don’t have to come back?”

“No, you don’t.  It takes about 10-15 minutes for the machine to mill, or create, the crown out of the ceramic block.  Then, we will place it in your mouth to make sure your bite is correct, it fits to your tooth well, and everything is sealed.  Then, we will take the crown and place it in an oven to bake it for 15 minutes.  Once it is cool, we use a very strong cement to keep it in place.  The total time you are in the chair is about the same, maybe a little less, as compared the total time needed to do a crown the traditional way; but you don’t have to get numb twice, and there is no temporary crown to worry about."

“Why don’t you need metal for the crown anymore?”

“Are there situations where metal is still necessary? Yes.  However, in your case and the majority of other patients as well, ceramics will do as great a job as their metal-based counterparts.  If used properly, the ceramic crowns are as strong as crowns with metal in them.  Another advantage is that the ceramic crowns are more esthetic than traditional crowns.”

“OK.  What is the difference in cost between a ceramic crown and a crown with metal?  It costs more right?”

“What if I told you it costs less?”

“WHAT??? HOW???”

“It’s simple.  When we used metal in the past for either the strength underneath porcelain or as an all-metal crown, we made sure our lab used nothing but the best (or noble) metals available: gold, palladium, etc.  Now, with gold rising in price significantly over the years, our lab bill, and in turn the fee we charge for our metal-based crowns, also increased.  When using a ceramic restoration, the lab bill is less.  Instead of charging you the same, or more, than a metal-based crown, I have lowered the fee to match the savings.”
Pictured: The camera, the computer, and the milling machine used
to make a crown in one visit.

“Wow! So, are they really just as strong as metal crowns?”

“Yes, if used properly.  As I said before, there will be times where a metal-based crown will be more beneficial; but in this case, and a majority of other cases, ceramic is a great material to use. “

“So, what made you get this machine now?  Why didn’t you get it before?”

“The technology is now where I want it to be.  What made me decided to get it now was the new camera.  It’s amazing.  Like I said before, it’s a 3-D color video camera.  The previous camera that was used, while also giving excellent results, was like a regular camera.  It took black-and-white still photos.  When the images from the video Omnicam camera are on the screen, you see it just as it is in your mouth.  Your gums will be pink, your silver filling in the back of your mouth will be silver.  Since the images with the old camera came up as black and white there could be situations where it would be difficult for the dentist to properly identify where the tooth ended (the margin) and the gums began.   With the omnicam, since everything is in color, it is much easier to identify the margin.”

“This seems really cool.  So, when can we do this?”

“As soon as you’re ready.”