Same Day Dental Crowns vs Lab Created
If you’ve ever broken or damaged a tooth enough to seriously affect its structural integrity, your dentist would have very likely recommended a crown. Crowns are a common treatment option in modern dentistry for cases in which damage to a tooth is too significant for a filling or if a tooth has simply worn down too much.
Dentists will typically opt for a crown when a patient has a very large cavity to fill or an existing filling is showing signs of decay around the edges. Crowns are almost always used to protect a tooth after a root canal as well. Dental crowns are also a popular choice in cosmetic dentistry to cover a poorly shaped or permanently discolored tooth that is otherwise healthy but negatively affects the patient’s smile.
You now have more choice than ever in dental crowns.
Patients that may have had crowns placed in the past will be happy to know that same day crowns are now quite a popular option, with a number of benefits compared to traditional or lab created crowns. However, traditional crowns still play an important role in the dental industry and certainly won’t be phased out by same-day technology anytime soon.
To help you better understand the differences between these two different crown options, we’ve laid out the major pros and cons of both.
Differences Between Same Day and Lab Created Crowns
Lab created crowns are considered to be the traditional type of crown. Your dentist will use a material, such as a specialized dental putty, to create a cast of the tooth. This cast will be sent to a lab, along with some information on tooth coloring, where the crown will be created.
Lab created crowns can be made of a number of different materials, including ceramic, porcelain, metal, and porcelain-fused-to-metal. Aside from material options, the biggest difference between traditional and same day crowns is the process of creating the crown.
Same day crowns are created right in your dentist’s office using technology such as the E4D Dentist System. Your dentist will take digital “casts” of the tooth and go through the entire process of creating the crown from scratch using a specialized ceramic material. Depending on the tooth, your dentist could have the final crown completed within half an hour.
Lab created crowns involve a lot of waiting.
If you’ve ever had a traditional crown, you may remember waiting a while before the permanent was placed. As the name suggests, lab created crowns are specially designed in dental labs with technicians trained in creating highly realistic, durable crowns. Unfortunately, this means that a lab created crown can take anywhere from two to four weeks to design, create, and get the finished crown sent back to your dentist.
In the meantime, you’ll have to wear a temporary crown to protect your tooth from damage and sensitivity. Temporary crowns aren’t without their issues either.
Lab created crowns require a temporary crown.
In most cases, patients won’t have a problem with their temporary crown as long as it’s been properly placed by the dentist and the patient takes good care of it. However, it isn’t uncommon to have complications with a temporary crown.
Temporary crowns can feel uncomfortable as it isn’t easy to get as accurate a fit as a finished crown. The adhesive used to place the temporary can also loosen, allowing the temporary to shift, causing further discomfort or even decay from food particles getting stuck in tiny gaps.
Temporaries can also completely pop off, especially if you eat something very sticky or chewy. Biting down on your tooth without the temporary could damage your tooth further. You’ll need to make an emergency appointment with your dentist to come back in and have it replaced.
Same Day Crowns = No Temporaries
Same day crowns completely negate the need for a temporary and consist of only a single dental office visit.
This means no waiting around, no worries about scheduling multiple dental office visits, and a perfect fit right off the bat.
You might be thinking, “If the process of getting a traditional crown takes so long and temporaries can also cause problems, why should I get a lab created crown at all?” Well, there is one major advantage of lab created crowns to consider.
Lab created crowns are super strong.
Most dentists will agree that lab created crowns are stronger—namely due to the materials used in their creation. For example, a lab created metal- or leucite-reinforced crown is going to be tougher than a same-day ceramic crown.
Based on this information, your dentist may recommend a lab-created crown on an individual basis for molars, as these teeth need to withstand a lot of force while chewing.
But same day crowns are ideal for most teeth.
With that being said, with current technological advancements in same day crown creation, the average same day crown is going to hold up very well in any position within the mouth. Depending on the particular tooth in question, your dentist may still recommend a lab created crown for a molar.
Same day crowns look very natural.
Another thing to consider is the appearance of a same day crown.
The faster processing time of creating an E4D same day ceramic crown means the end result is solely reliant on the experience of the team in your dental office. For this reason, some dentists will recommend that a patient get a lab created crown for a highly visible front tooth, even if they regularly create same day crowns themselves.
However, a skilled dentist can create a stunning E4D crown that perfectly matches your smile. Since your dentist is right there with you and able to view the color and gradient on your natural teeth, they can more easily get an accurate color match compared to a lab. With same day crowns being made of a ceramic material, you also won’t have to deal with the odd gray cast that can be seen with porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns.
Which crown is best for you?
The only way to truly determine which crown is best for you is to speak with your dentist. Typically the average patient can opt for same-day crowns without any issues and only reap the benefits of this type of crown.
The main thing to keep in mind as a patient is that your dentist will approach your treatment plan on an individual basis with your best interests in mind. In most cases, a same-day crown is a wonderful option that saves you (and your dentist) a lot of time. However, your dentist may also recommend a lab created crown if the final result will work better based on your treatment plan.