Recently, I have seen several posts regarding a dental crown procedure.  More specifically, discussions on both the costs and pain when getting a crown!  It seems that many patients were concerned about the pain when getting a dental crown.  Let’s start there.

Is it Possible to Get a Dental Crown Without Pain?

First, nobody likes getting the dreaded SHOT! I know this is the one hallmark whereby most patients actually judge a dentist’s skill level. If the shot is painless, he’s the BEST dentist ever!! Not necessarily so! Skill with his drill is also paramount, but many never consider that.

Pain-free shots are a common misconception of quality!

Most dentists can do an injection relatively pain-free. Many times it only takes one injection to numb a patient who is prepping for a dental crown procedure. There are times when the gums, lips and tongue will feel profoundly numb, but the tooth is not totally numb yet. So your dentist may begin his work with you feeling nothing, but suddenly you feel that your dentist “hits a nerve”!! What has happened is actually that while beginning the work, your dentist starts cutting through the outer white enamel. There is no feeling in the enamel. But when he gets down into the next layer of your tooth, the dentin, there are nerve sensations. If you are not totally numb, you feel that he “hit the nerve”. In truth, if he actually hit the nerve, (the hollow blood/nerve supply area of the tooth), you would be headed to the Endodontist to have a root canal procedure performed.

Usually, a second injection will complete your anesthesia and your comfort level will be complete! If you ever feel any discomfort, just stop him and tell him to give you more anesthesia. Trust me, your dentist wants you totally numb when getting a crown so that he can complete his job. So whether you are getting a simple filling or a complex dental crown, your comfort is our first priority.

Common Reasons for a Dental Crown Procedure

Crowns are done for a variety of reasons; gross decay, after root canal treatment, cosmetic reasons, replacement of defective crown work, bite correction, or even large old amalgam (silver/mercury) fillings with decay. There are several types of crowns too; PFM’s, which are metal-based crowns with porcelain layered on top, gold crowns, zirconia (non-metallic but all white), and all-ceramic crowns.

Today’s digital age allows us the ability to fabricate ceramic crowns in one visit using a computer CAD/Cam system called CEREC. Yes, that’s right.  Only one visit for a dental crown procedure–no impressions–no temporary crown–no second visit. This is state-of-the-art technology that allows us to scan your teeth into 3D imaging software, design and mill your final crown in the office while you wait. This typically takes 60-90 minutes. You walk out with a permanent ceramic crown that is cosmetically beautiful and durable.

CEREC Crowns

There are several dentists in the Orlando area who are CEREC dentists. To become a CEREC dentist requires a substantial investment of money and education. There is also quite a learning curve to become proficient, thus many dentists do not have these digital capabilities. I find that my patients absolutely LOVE being able to get numb only once for their crowns. They love not gagging during messy impressions, no temporaries coming off or breaking, no getting numb at a second visit, no taking off work a second time!

Additional Reading:  One-Visit CEREC Crowns vs. Traditional Crowns

Most dentists still use a dental lab for multiple crowns, bridgework, custom staining crowns to match smiles in front, or for other sundry reasons. But the technology is here and it is superb in fit and finish. When your dentist has developed the skill with the continuing education that can be obtained in this digital age, you, the patient benefit greatly!

Keep smiling!
Mark Offenback, D.D.S.