Remember when pictures couldn’t be developed in less than 24 hours? Or when you had to hope that one of the 10 shots you took would be the perfect photo? Things have changed. What if I told you that after a two-hour visit to the dentist, you could walk out with a new, all porcelain crown or veneer—a totally transformed smile?
Just as photos have gone digital, giving us instant results, many dentists have also gone digital, offering instant results. This improved speed is thanks to the digital revolution in dentistry, which brought advancements like computer-aided design and computer-aided manufacturing (CAD/CAM). Dental work that took several visits just a few years ago can now be performed in single visit.
Compared to conventional treatment single visit dentistry has a number of benefits for patients:
Single Visit Dentistry Saves Time
Getting a conventional crown can take two to five visits and up to one month. That’s a lot of time spent commuting to your dentist and taking time off from work. A single visit obviously saves a lot of time.
Single Visit Dentistry Is Less Painful and More Comfortable
A conventional crown or veneer can leave you walking around with a broken tooth or ill-fitting temporary crown until the lab has completed the permanent one. These temporaries are not as strong as the permanent porcelain material and leakage of food and bacteria can cause tooth sensitivity and discomfort.
Temporaries can also pop off, leading to extra trips to the dentist for cementation, not to mention the embarrassment of having a prepared jagged tooth showing.
Single Visit Dentistry Is Accurate, Fast, and Less Messy
The conventional way to get a veneer or crown includes inserting a tray of material into your mouth and waiting five minutes for it to harden. These impressions are not only uncomfortable, but often have inaccuracies that can lead to a crown not fitting well. This means coming back to the dentist two weeks later, taking another impression and being stuck wearing a temporary crown for another two weeks.
CAD/CAM technology allows dentists to take digital impressions. These are done quickly with a camera that takes very precise pictures of your mouth and the prepared tooth. When taking impressions with material, there are endless opportunities for error and inaccuracies. The camera is not only a more pleasant experience for the patient, but also produces a far more accurate result.
Single Visit Dentistry Is Less Invasive
Computer-aided technology allows crowns to be all porcelain. Conventional crowns are porcelain fused to metal, which requires tooth removal below the gum. This usually means drilling away healthy tooth.
This can be irritating to the gum and eventually cause the gum to recede, exposing dark metal. The all-porcelain crowns bond to the tooth and require less drilling away of healthy tooth. Since the porcelain is the same color as the tooth, there is no fear of metal showing.
Dr. Rebecca Koenigsberg practices general dentistry at Gallery57Dental in New York City. A graduate of Columbia University and an Invisalign-certified dentist, she focuses on providing patients a healthy, aesthetic smile.