Having a Problem With CEREC Crowns that Keep Breaking

About five years ago, my doctor told me I had serious decay on one of my far back teeth. He had just started doing CEREC crowns back then and he assured me they were as good as, if not better than, the ones done by the lab. I was also glad to hear I could have it done in a single day, so I went ahead with the procedure. A couple years later, the thing literally falls apart in my mouth while I’m eating dinner. I have other crowns that are over 15 years old now and have had no issues with them. My dentist assured me it was a fluke and offered to redo the work free. So, he makes me a new one, another CEREC crown, and this one lasts 3 years. He now says that it’s my bite that’s the problem and that I’m abnormally hard on them. He’ll make me a third one, but this time, he’s going to charge me for it and also for some kind of device to wear at night. It doesn’t sound right that it could be my fault somehow, since the other real crowns are fine. How should I approach this?


Dear Jim,

The concept is so simple, even Sesame Street teaches it with their hit song: “One of These Things is Not Like the Others.” In all fairness, though, it’s technically possible that the alignment of your teeth is such that a single tooth is receiving more force than the others, but it’s not likely.

What is likely, though, is that your dentist isn’t skilled at CEREC crowns. Any dentist who does them, or who uses similar technology, will tell you it takes a lot of time and practice to perfect making these restorations. While a doctor can train extensively and make beautiful and long-lasting CEREC crowns right away, those who can are the exception.

This leaves you with a few choices. First, you can let him continue to perfect his technique on you and go forward with proposed treatment. As a second option, you can request that he have the lab make your crown. Since lab-made and CEREC crowns have some serious differences, he might be able to give you a lab-made one that will last. As a final possibility, you can get a second opinion. Another doctor can assess your bite and tell you whether he feels you can benefit from the secondary treatment. You may also elect to have your new restoration done by that doctor as well.

The bottom line is that the technology behind CEREC crowns is fairly solid. The application of that technology isn’t always so.

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

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