Characterizing a crown is crucial for a perfectly natural restoration. Learn how our onsite lab makes all the difference.
We all love a custom gift or purchase – something special made just for us. But while a monogrammed necklace or custom-painted car can be meaningful or exciting, there are times when perfect customization for you is not just nice, but critical. When it comes to a dental crown, this important step in the process can really make or break your restoration, which is why we put so much emphasis on getting it exactly, perfectly right. Here’s a closer look at how we characterize a crown to make it fit in perfectly with your natural teeth, for a smile that’s all your own.
First things first – creating the perfect restoration.
Before we can characterize a crown, we have to make it! In the example seen here, the patient had a broken front tooth that, following discussion between Dr. Mollot and the patient, it was decided would be best repaired with a custom digital restoration.
The process for designing and milling a restoration in our onsite lab is extremely sophisticated; at the same time, the workflow is remarkably simple and streamlined, thanks to the digital integration between our doctors and our onsite lab and no need for any third parties.
The start-to-finish process is quite fascinating to follow, and you can take a closer look at the steps, learn how our doctors and lab techs collaborate, and see some very state-of-the-art, very cool equipment in action right here.
Turning a crown from technically perfect to naturally perfect.
Once the crown has been designed and milled, it will be a perfect fit for you. However, no matter how well it works to restore your damaged tooth, if we don’t characterize the restoration, it won’t look natural! In this specific case, Dr. Mollot’s patient had a very unique colourization on her front teeth that would need to be carefully matched.
Our restorations are made out of zirconia, a strong material that is naturally similar in colour to tooth enamel. While this material is a good starting point, everyone’s teeth are unique. Not only do we need to match the general overall shade of your natural teeth, but each tooth has spots and variances. If we matched the shade exactly but neglected those variances, your restoration would look fake.
To capture this natural look, our experienced onsite lab technicians use stains and glazes to characterize the crown, using photos of your natural teeth for reference. When we are happy with the result, we’ll call you in to have the crown placed.
Once you’re in our chair, the benefits of our onsite lab really come into play. We can actually fine-tune the characterization of your restoration while you are in the chair – even right in your mouth! This is especially important when the crown is being placed on a front tooth, where getting the look exactly right is incredibly crucial.
Because the tooth in this particular case had such a unique natural shading, our on-site ceramist was able to apply porcelain to replicate the deep internal colouration required to match the neighbouring teeth. When the patient came back from placement of the restoration, the technician was able to add additional custom characterization on the spot, using custom stain and glaze, while the restoration was directly beside the adjacent teeth being matched.
In cases where the lab is not onsite, you would have two choices: either settle for a crown that isn’t perfect, or send the crown back to the lab for further tweaks (meaning you have to leave and come back for an additional appointment). In really tricky cases, a patient may be able to go to the lab but at best will be required to stand in the lobby while a lab technician comes out to hold the restoration next to the patient’s face to compare to the natural teeth, before sending them home again and getting back to work on characterization. Luckily, thanks to our onsite workflow, you never have to settle! The patient seen here is a perfect example of combining the power of digital restorations with the skill and precision of traditional ceramics and custom stain and glazing for an incredibly natural final result.
A crown can not only improve the look of your smile, but protect your oral health.
There are cosmetic reasons to go ahead with placing a dental crown on a damaged tooth, but often there are really important oral health reasons as well. If you have a damaged tooth and are considering a dental crown, don’t hesitate to come in for a consultation. We’ll be happy to discuss your options and help you make the best choice for you.