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Crown Build-Up Procedure Explained

A crown, commonly referred to as a cap, is a permanent form of restoration that reinforces the strength of a tooth.  Indications for the placement of a crown include root treated or severely fractured teeth. This procedure may be done for cosmetic purposes as well.

Either 1 or 2 visits may be required for the procedure, depending on the material of choice for the crown. With the introduction of more advanced technology in the field of Dentistry, crowns can be manufactured within a few hours and cemented on the same day as the crown preparation. CAD CAM (computer-aided design and manufacturing) technology forms an integral part of the dental services provided by Gateway Dental and will therefore be focused on in this article.

An examination will be conducted initially in order to determine whether the tooth can support a crown. An x-ray will be necessary in order to evaluate any possible decay that may be present. In certain cases, a root canal may be required before a crown is placed. Extensive decay or fractures may require a core build-up. This is a type of filling that is placed first in order to support a crown.

The following steps form part of the actual procedure:

Tooth Preparation:

Local anaesthetic is administered first. The shape of the tooth is adjusted in order to accommodate a crown, as demonstrated in the image below.


Using the CEREC system, a wand-like device is used to scan each surface of the crown preparation, as well as the surrounding teeth. The images are transferred onto the system, creating a 3D model of the teeth. These scans aid in the process of designing and milling a well-fitting crown. From this stage onwards, a lab technician will assist in determining a suitable shade of the crown and proceed with the manufacturing process.


An hour is required for the crown to be manufactured.


At this stage, the fit of the crown is determined and adjustments are made accordingly. Local anaesthetic is administered and an applicable material is used to cement the crown to the tooth. The excess material is removed and a blue light is used to set the cement. Further adjustments are made to the bite if this is required, and may be done at future visits if necessary.