Do I have to have impressions taken to get a crown done?

My dentist told me I need a crown, but I’ve had them before and I can’t stomach the impressions. It might sound strange to some people, but those few minutes seem like an eternity to me. My eyes water, I can’t breathe and I feel like I’m choking. I’ve tried everything I can think of to overcome this, but nothing works. Are there any other options? I don’t know if I can go through with it again.



Dear Erin,

A tyrannosaurus rex making a bed is strange, but a person having issues with impressions? It’s actually a lot more common than you think. It sounds like the impression material triggers your gag reflex. The impression material tends to ooze out of the tray a bit before it starts setting. So, not only do you have a large, awkward tray in your mouth, but often you will also have a small amount that sets as it drips down the back of the tray. This can trigger the gag reflex faster than Jay Z forgets the words to his own songs.

If you’ve tried other methods and they haven’t worked, one thing you might want to consider is switching to a dentist who does crowns in a day. A dentist who uses CEREC or E4D technology can not only prepare and cement your crown in one visit (Yes, without the usual two-week wait. Yay!), but also without the messy, gooey, foul-tasting, gag-reflex-inducing, tear-producing, hold-your-breath-until-you’re-blue-in-the-face impressions.

Systems like CEREC and E4D have the ability to use a computer-generated image to create your crown. The dentist can actually use a small camera to capture a 3-D image of your tooth rather than taking the traditional impressions as you have experienced. Most patients find this much more comfortable and certainly a lot less messy than the old tray-and-goop method.

A quick Google search should turn up which dentists in your area are using this newer technology, but it’s always wise to call in advance and double check with the office before you schedule your appointment. Many dentists are updating their technology these days, so it also wouldn’t hurt to ask your present dentist if he plans to upgrade in the near future as well. Either way, if you go this route, you’re sure to be smiling bigger than a rapper showing off his new diamond-encrusted grill.

This blog is sponsored by Elgin Dentist, Dr. Steve Sirin.

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