Tag Archives: all porcelain crowns

dentist pushing cerec crowns

I need a dental crown on a tooth in the front of my mouth. My dentist is really pushing for me to get a CEREC crown. I know he’s invested a lot in the machine and probably needs to recoup his money, but I want to make sure these crowns are just as good as the regular ones before getting it. It’s more of a big deal because I’m talking about a front tooth and don’t want to look stupid.


Dear Kevin,

Block of porcelain for CEREC crowns
Cerec restorations are made of all-porcelain.

Trying something new can be exciting, but when it comes to your smile, you want to be certain the results will be something you won’t want to hide.

Advantage of CEREC Crowns

With traditional porcelain crowns, your dentist designs it and then send it off to a lab to be completed. This process takes about two weeks. In the meantime, you will be provided with a temporary crown. This is designed to protect the tooth.

They are designed to come off easily so some patients find it more challenging to eat with them on. They’re also a little less attractive than the final result will be because of their temporary nature.

With CEREC Crowns, you walk out of your appointment with your permanent crown in place. This is because it is milled right in the office.

That convenience is its biggest advantage. You don’t have to come back for a second appointment, which means there is no need to get additional time off work or find a babysitter for a second appointment.

Because they’re made of all porcelain, they are just as attractive as traditional crowns. There isn’t much of a cost difference either.

CEREC Crowns on Front Teeth

This issue of a front tooth is more an issue of the dentist than the type of crown. Matching a crown to a front tooth takes an expert cosmetic dentist, especially on a single front tooth.

In that case, I’d ask your dentist to show you images of results of crowns he’s done on front teeth. Ask specifically for an example of CEREC crowns as well. Because they’re milled out of a single block of porcelain, your dentist will really have to know his color theory.

If he doesn’t get beautiful results, you may be happier switching to a different dentist for this one procedure with a different dentist. You can still get a CEREC crown, but you’ll get it by a dentist with expertise in cosmetics. Ideally, you’d see a dentist who is accredited with the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry.

This blog is brought to you by Lafayette Dentist Dr. Mike Malone.

Dental crown looks fake

I’ve had dental crowns before but they’ve always been on back teeth. This is my first one on a front tooth. My dentist did a CEREC crown which was very convenient. I liked that, but for some reason it looks really fake compared to the tooth next to it. It almsot has a painted, dull appearance. Is this typical of crowns? Is there a way to get them to look natural?


Dear Dana,

CEREC Crown being placed on a tooth
Whether or Not a Crown Looks Natural Depends on Two Things

A crown on a front tooth can look natural and blend in naturally. Whether or not that happens depends on two things:

  • The cosmetic skill of the dentist
  • The materials used

Getting a Beautiful Dental CEREC Crown

CEREC crowns are made of all-porcelain, which is great. Porcelain mimics the appearance of natural teeth by reflecting light. When you get traditional porcelain veneers, they are milled from several different blocks of porcelain.

Our natural teeth aren’t the same all the way down. If you look closely at your front teeth the bottom parts of your upper front teeth are more translucent than the middle parts of your teeth.

Even though it still requires an expert cosmetic dentist to place a dental crown on your front teeth, traditional all porcelain crowns are a little easier simply because they’re milled from several block of porcelain making it easier to get the different levels of opacity versus translucency.

With CEREC crowns, this is more challenging. They are milled from a single block of porcelain. That makes it harder to show the subtle differences in color. Dentists have to be very familiar with color theory and stains to get a front CEREC crown to look natural.

Without that, you end up with a flat looking front tooth as you’re experiencing.

Which Dentists Can Place a Crown on a Front Tooth?

Front teeth are more exposed, making it imperative the dentist has the right skills to match and blend the crown with the adjacent teeth exactly. In your place, I’d only use an AACD accredited cosmetic dentist. Dentists who’ve reached accreditation are the top cosmetic dentists in the world. You can go to aacd.com to find one in a reasonable distance to you.

This blog is brought to you by Louisiana Cosmetic Dentist Dr. Mike Malone.

Help! Which Crown Should I Get?

I need to get a dental crown on a tooth. My dentist threw all these options at me. While he did explain everything, it was all so fast I can’t remember. I told him I’d let him know this week. I tried to do some research but everything is so confusing. Help!


Dear Lacey,

CEREC Crown being placed on a tooth

Sometimes dentists think you can understand everything in 5 minutes that they studied all the way through dental school. Sounds easy, right?

It’s good that you’re doing some research. It’s important to go into these type of decisions informed. One thing to be aware of is that you should always feel free to tell your dentist to slow down and to repeat himself if necessary. You should never feel rushed.

To help, I’ll go over the three most common types of dental crowns.

Three Most Common Dental Crowns

The first has been in place for many years and it’s been a staple in the dental diet. These are conventional crowns, also known as porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns. As their name implies, these have porcelain on top and a metal base underneath. These are best used for back teeth because of the amount of biting force we use with our back teeth. If you have a metal allergy, there are metal-free options.

The second type is all-porcelain crowns. These have porcelain all the way through, even as it’s underside. These are especially useful for front teeth because they look more natural than their metal-based counterparts. With front teeth, there is a completely different biting force and these can withstand the pressure.

Thirdly, there are CEREC crowns. These are also all-porcelain. The biggest differences are they are milled by machine using a single block of porcelain. As a result, they’re able to be done in just one appointment. Be aware, unless you have a highly skilled cosmetic dentist, these won’t have the same subtleties that the non-machine milled crowns will have which are made from several different blocks that have different shades.

There’s really not a horrible choice, though I never recommend metal-based crowns on front teeth. You won’t like the results. I hope this helps.

This blog is brought to you by Lafayette Dentist, Dr. Mike Malone.

CEREC Crowns and Thyroid Issues

I have severe thyroid issues and find it important to make sure my dental work is metal free, as well as containing no lithium. I’m considering CEREC crown. I asked my dentist about these issues and he said my information is false and there’s no point in even answering the question. This annoyed me and made me wonder if it was safe for me to get one. Do you have information for me?


Dear Alyssa,

Block of porcelain for CEREC crowns

Before we start, I’m going to let you know this isn’t the best dentist for you. While I won’t say you’ll need a holistic dentist, you will need a dentist who will be willing to care about your concerns. This one obviously doesn’t.

CEREC Crowns are Metal-Free

Because CEREC crowns are milled from a single block of porcelain, you don’t have to worry about a metal base. Though you can get all-porcelain crowns even with traditional crowns, there are also some that have a metal base, so if you ever get a traditional crown, make sure to specify you want an all-porcelain crown.

CEREC Crowns can be Lithium Free

Dentists have quite a few options in the types of tooth-colored materials available in block form. Only one of them is lithium disilicate-based. There haven’t been any studies to date on this lithium with the thyroid. The lithium which is under scrutiny for leading to hypothyroidism is the lithium prescribed to bipolar patients.

However, for your own peace of mind, it’s best if you let your dentist know of your concerns ahead of time. It’s simple enough for him to avoid that one type for your sake. Just give him a head’s up.

Dentists should factor in the concerns of their patients. Though many try to assume they know more because “they’re the professional who has the dental degree”, it’s your body. No one knows your body better than you do.

Additionally, neither dentists nor doctors have accumulated the sum of all knowledge and understanding when it comes to medical care. We’re still developing knowledge. Therefore, if a patient feels a type of material has a negative impact on them, we should listen.

This blog is brought to you by Lafayette, LA Cosmetic Dentist Dr. Mike Malone.

Pain with CEREC Crown

I had three crowns put on back teeth. I’ve had one other crown in the past without issue. This is the first time I’ve gotten CEREC crowns. Every time I bite down it’s a nightmare. I feel as if a knife is going through my jaw. Is it because it’s CEREC crowns or something else?


Dear Olivia,

A tooth receiving a CEREC crown

I don’t think it’s the fact you received CEREC crowns this time which is causing the problem. When there is a pain on biting with dental crowns, whether traditional or CEREC, there is usually one of two causes.

Do You Have a Lingering Infection?

People often get dental crowns because of a tooth infection and root canal treatment. There are many canals in our teeth and some of them do a pretty good job of hiding from the dentist, even when they do everything right in the procedure. If he or she missed a canal it would explain the pain. You can have an x-ray done to see if there is still some ick left.

Your CEREC Crown Could be Seated too High

Because the pain is when you’re biting down, it leads me to believe the crown may be seated too high. Generally, when we bite down the force is absorbed by all of our teeth. But, if your crown is seated higher than your other teeth, it’s taking on the full force of your bite, which would cause quite a “zing” of pain. If that’s the case, a simple adjustment by your dentist should do the trick.

When NOT to get a CEREC Crown

CEREC crowns are wonderful. They generally have a better chance of fitting perfectly because they’re milled by computer. They’re also incredibly convenient because you get it the same day and don’t need to bother with a temporary crown and second appointment. All that being said, there is one time I do not recommend a CEREC crown. Instead, you’d need the traditional all-porcelain crowns.

CEREC crowns are milled out of a single block of porcelain. That limits the variation and subtle color changes you’d normally be able to achieve when getting a traditional all-porcelain crown. On back teeth, that’s no big deal, but when you’re talking about your front teeth that’s a totally different story.

Your front teeth are exposed when you smile and the light hits them which reveals their secrets even more. You’ll want a skilled cosmetic dentist to make sure you get a crown crafted with all the color and translucency changes you’d get with your natural teeth so they blend in beautifully.

This blog is brought to you by AACD accredited dentist Dr. Mike Malone.

CEREC vs. Traditional Crowns

I’m considering getting a CEREC crown. Are they as good as their traditional counterparts?


Dear Matt,

A tooth receiving a CEREC crown
Which is better a CEREC or Traditional Crown?

In one corner we have traditional porcelain crowns. Tried. True. Proven. Strong. Beautiful (with the right dentist). Though, they do take a couple of appointments. They’re milled from more than one block of porcelain.

In the other corner are the CEREC crowns. Tried. True. Proven. Strong. Beautiful (with the right dentist). Made in one appointment. Though, they’re milled from one solid block of porcelain.

Each time I type “Though”, I’m showing the downside of that particular type of crown. While two appointments aren’t horrible, it is definitely more convenient to have it done in one. You miss less work. You use less time. You have your permanent crown from the beginning. So, it would seem that the CEREC crown would be the better bargain. After all, the other features seem to be the same.

So, what’s the big deal about the “Though” for CEREC crowns? Why does it matter if you mill a crown from one block of porcelain or more than one block?

The difference comes from a cosmetic standpoint. Your teeth aren’t of identical translucency from top to bottom. The edges, especially at the bottom, are less opaque than the rest of the tooth. It seems to “thin out” a bit as you move down. There’s also a whiter color in the center than you’d find as you move down.

When you mill from a single block of porcelain, the crown will seem the same from top to bottom. They can look a little flatter because there aren’t those subtle varieties.

When a dentist can draw from more than one block and craft them together, you get the subtleties that reflect light a smidge better in natural teeth.

When to NOT Get CEREC Crowns

In most cases, CEREC crowns are fantastic. They’ll still look beautiful. They’ll still match your teeth. They’ll still hold up to the stresses of daily use. The one exception is on a very front tooth. If you’re getting a crown on one of your very visible front teeth, that’s when I would opt for a traditional crown. This will allow the dentist to use his artistry and make sure every subtle variety of light and color comes through.

Other than in that case, you will get a gorgeous crown with CEREC AND save yourself an additional appointment.

One word of caution. No matter which you decide on, once the crown is completed and bonded on, the color cannot be changed. If you’re going to get your teeth whitened, do it before getting your crown designed.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Mike Malone

Do CEREC Crowns Last Longer than Regular Crowns?

My dentist told me I need three crowns. I was shocked because my last checkup didn’t show any decay. He wants me to get CEREC crowns. I like the fact that they can be done in one appointment. But, my insurance only covers the older crowns. Is it worth the extra cost? Do they last longer than the regular crowns?


Dear Elliot

Machine for CEREC Crowns
CEREC Crowns are Milled by Computer

When you’re talking about the longevity of crowns, it’s not as much whether you use CEREC or traditional. The length of time any crown lasts, regardless of the kind, depends on two factors—the skill of the dentist and the habits of the patient.

On the patient end, it’s important you keep up with your home care. Regular brushing and flossing are a must. The dentist has several responsibilities. They have to choose the right materials. They have to know the proper techniques for attaching the crown. Traditional crowns are cemented. CEREC crowns are bonded, which is a completely different (and more involved) technique.

Two dentists can make the same crown. One will last five years; the other will last ten. It wasn’t a difference between the type of crown as much as the skill of the dentist. Don’t hesitate to ask your dentist how long his crowns typically last.

The Differences Between CEREC and Traditional Crowns

There are two advantages to CEREC crowns. The most obvious one is you can have all three of your crowns completed in one visit. Second, they’re milled by a computer which generally helps with their fit. They’re actually great for side teeth. Some cosmetic dentists don’t like placing them on front teeth because they’re milled from a single block of porcelain. In that case, they feel they can craft them better traditionally.

Another weakness for CEREC crowns AND traditional all-porcelain crowns are on back teeth. They can’t always hold up to the pressure of the biting forces your molars have to take. In that case, you’d want either a metal-based crown or a zirconia crown if you have any metal sensitivities.

No matter what crown you choose. Once the crown is made, the color is permanent, so if you’ve been considering teeth whitening be sure to do it before you get your crowns if they’re in a visible place. If they’re all back teeth, that won’t matter. You can get your crowns and then whiten later.

Consider a Second Opinion

One thing you said bothered me. You mentioned your last checkup showed no signs of decay and suddenly you need three crowns. That sounds just a bit hinky to me. While it’s possible that you could have decay that spread quickly, if you get regular cleanings there should have been some sign of decay.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Mike Malone.

Can I Switch My Metal Crowns with Porcelain Veneers?

I’ve got four metal-based crowns. I’ve never been thrilled with them. They’ve always looked more cloudy than my natural teeth, but it was better than no teeth. Lately, though, there’s been this dark line at my gumline. It’s making it impossible for me to smile without feeling humiliated. I’ve started avoiding going out in public. Last night, I saw an article about porcelain veneers. The pictures were stunning. First, are they really that gorgeous or was that clever photoshopping? Second, can I switch out my metal-based crowns with porcelain veneers?

Millie M. – Indiana


No one should be embarrassed to smile. With that said, I don’t want you to feel alone. There are many people (Americans especially) who are unhappy with some aspect of their smile. We want perfection. Cloudy teeth you can maybe get away with. It’s not ideal, but it’s not necessarily distracting or ugly. A gray line at your gumline is both distracting and ugly. I understand your desire to make a switch.

Porcelain veneers really can be that stunning. Whether they are or not depends on the skill of the cosmetic dentist. A skilled, artistic cosmetic dentist can give you a gorgeous smile. Toward that end, I have good news and bad news regarding switching out your crowns with veneers.

First, the bad news. You cannot. It doesn’t matter what type of crown it is. The reason is the structural difference between the two treatments. Porcelain veneers bond to the very front of the teeth. Hardly any tooth structure is removed to place them. Dental crowns, on the other hand, fit over the entirety of your teeth, which requires grinding down a large amount of tooth structure. Because of that, there’s not enough tooth left for the veneers to be bonded to.

Now for the good news. You can still replace these ugly crowns and get a gorgeous smile. Instead of replacing your metal-based crowns with porcelain veneers, you can replace them with all-porcelain crowns. These can be created just as beautifully as porcelain veneers. Unlike their metal-based relations, all-porcelain crowns will not look cloudy. It’s the base that makes which makes that necessary in order to hide the metal. Also, you’ll never have to worry about them developing that unsightly gray line.

The key will be the dentist. The get the best results, look for an AACD accredited dentist. Accreditation is different than membership. You can purchase membership. Accreditation is earned by demonstrating proficiency in both technical skill and artistry.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Mike Malone.

My Dentist Wants to Put A Metal Crown On My Tooth

I’m not sure if I should go forward with something my dentist wants to do. I need a crown. But, he wants to put a metal based crown on the tooth. My mother had one of those and it was horribly ugly. Would mine be ugly too or have their been more developments since then?

Ally R. – Idaho


I haven’t seen your mother’s crown, nor do I know when she had it placed, so it would be hard for me to tell you if there have been advancements. However, I can tell you that cosmetic dentists (who care as much about form as they do function) would not put a metal based crown on a front tooth.

The reason for that is the appearance, as you’ve noted about your mother’s old crown. A metal based crown requires a more opaque layering in order to “cover” the metal. Plus, you will eventually develop a gray line at your gumline, which will be unattractive and distracting.

Instead, I’d recommend an all-porcelain crown. These are perfectly strong enough to be placed on your front teeth, and are much more attractive.

That being said, you’ll need to have a good cosmetic dentist to do it. Even the most beautiful materials need artistic hands to make their beauty shine.  Especially because it is a front teeth you’re talking about, I cannot stress how much the skill of the cosmetic dentist will make a difference on how the crown will look.

The best cosmetic dentists are accredited with the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD).

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Mike Malone.


Whitening crowns

Can I whiten a dental crown if it is old? My crown is turning beige.  So are my teeth for that matter.  I know I can whiten them, I was just wondering about the crown.

Beatrice N.  – Pennsylvania

Beatri ce,

A dental  crown, or any other dental restoration, cannot be whitened. Only natural tooth structure is whitened. That doesn’t mean you can’t have white teeth.

What it will mean is doing professional teeth whitening and then getting a new crown. Make sure you go to a dentist that does an all porcelain crown. It will be much more beautiful than a porcelain fused to metal crown.

This blog is brought to you by Lafayette, LA  Dentist Dr. Mike Malone.