3D Tooth Crowns - Speeding Up The Tooth Repair Process

At one point or another, almost everyone needs to have repair of some kind done on their teeth. Although tooth enamel is very hard and protective, it tends to wear down over time and can make a tooth more susceptible to cracking and chipping.  When a crack does happen, it becomes important to take corrective action before the tooth breaks completely. 

The most common way to repair a cracked tooth is to make a replacement tooth called a crown. The cracked tooth is filed down and then an exact replica of the tooth is created and glued over the remaining stub. Unfortunately there are some disadvantages to this procedure.

  • Time - Once a dentist, like Paul Dona DDS, has made a mold of the tooth to be replaced, this mold has traditionally been sent to a lab for reproduction. This entire process usually takes approximately 2 weeks. As a result, the patient has to wait for their permanent crown.
  • Inconvenience - Since the mold has to not only replicate the outside of the tooth, it must also be formed to fit perfectly over the stub. Because of this, the patient has to spend the two week production time with a temporary solution that can easily come loose or create other problems. 
  • Multiple appointments - The patient has to wait two weeks for the crown, so they are required to interrupt their schedule multiple times to visit the dentist.
  • Discomfort - Because the grinding of the stub and placement of the crown are both potentially very painful, the patient is put under local anesthetic both times. This anesthetic can be uncomfortable and annoying, especially if it has to be administered more than once.

A new solution is being implemented by some dentists that allows the replacement crown to be created on a 3D printer, typically located within the dentist's office. The benefit of this new and improved process is that once digital images of the tooth are taken, they are sent to a 3D printer, and the porcelain crown is created in about an hour. 

With the normal two week waiting period reduced to an hour the patient is able to wait at the office and by the time they leave they will have their permanent crown securely in place. This eliminates not only the worry of the temporary crown coming loose or getting damaged but also keeps the patient from having to make a return trip to the dentist.

As a result of this new technology, patients are able to save time, convenience and discomfort. All of these things make the future of this new process look bright.