The Dentist Is In: A broken tooth can ruin any good meal - Tucson Local Media: The Doctor Is In

The Dentist Is In: A broken tooth can ruin any good meal

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Posted: Wednesday, November 21, 2012 4:00 am

The northwest side of Tucson has its share of wonderful restaurants, and many readers frequent these “good eats” spots ranging from Indian to Mexican and everything in between. Whether you enjoy eating out or cooking Thanksgiving dinner at home, a broken tooth can really put a damper on a wonderful meal.

As a dentist I see emergency patients who, oftentimes while eating, have broken a tooth. Generally, they are experiencing sensitivity and want a fast fix.

Luckily, in the last few years, advances in dentistry have made it easier to fix a broken or fractured tooth in one dental visit. If the tooth is in need of a crown or large ceramic restoration, the technology is now available for your dentist to manufacture that restoration in the office, most times in one visit. 

Technology today is changing our everyday lives. Many people, however, aren’t aware that technology also is impacting dentistry in new and exciting ways. Cutting-edge innovations in dental instruments are requiring less time in the dental chair, causing less discomfort and creating satisfying results. One breakthrough instrument, called CEREC®, allows dentists to quickly restore damaged teeth with natural-colored ceramic fillings, saving patients time and inconvenience.

CEREC is an acronym for Chairside Economical Restoration of Esthetic Ceramics. Translated, it means that a dentist can economically restore damaged teeth in a single appointment using a high-quality ceramic material that matches the natural color of other teeth. CEREC uses the most advanced dental technology, including 3D imaging and CAD/CAM to create a crown. In layman’s terms, it is a computer-designed restoration for your tooth. The whole procedure takes between two and three hours and can be completed in one visit.

As many of you have experienced in the past, receiving a crown would require two separate dental visits. At the first appointment, the dentist would prepare the tooth, take a mold and fit you with a temporary (usually plastic) crown which you would then wear for approximately two weeks.  At the second appointment, your temporary crown would be removed and the permanent restoration would be placed.

With a CEREC, the two visits can be combined into one appointment, eliminating the need to take more valuable patient time and the required temporary (until the patient receives the permanent crown). During your visit, your dentist will prepare the tooth, use 3D imaging to take digital impressions of your tooth, and then use CAD/CAM technology to design a crown specifically for you.

CEREC crowns are strong, durable and are made to match your surrounding teeth so they are less noticeable. CEREC has two decades of clinical research and documentation to support the technology. The restorations have been proven precise, safe and effective.

This breakthrough in dental technology is something that impacts patient care tremendously. Saving time and what can be a bothersome temporary crown, CEREC provides a fantastic solution for patients in need of a restoration. Although, roughly only 20 percent of dental offices in America utilize CEREC technology at this time, many offices are investing in this innovative technology every day. I encourage patients to learn more about the many emerging dental technologies that will provide better care for them. 

In the mean time, enjoy the fantastic food while spending Thanksgiving with your family and friends… and always be aware of anything you’re eating that could break a tooth.

For more information on CEREC technology, visit

(Editor’s Note: Athena Storey is the owner/dentist at Studio Dental, PLLC. You can reach her at 575-5576.)

© 2017 Tucson Local Media. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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