Why Did My New CEREC Crown Break?

I’ve had crowns done before and have never had an issue with them. Recently, I had to switch dentists and the new one wanted to do a CEREC crown. All of my others were traditionally done, but he assured me that this one would be just as durable. Well, here we are two months later and my CEREC crown is broken and he wants to replace it with another one done the same way. I’m very concerned that the same thing will happen. Was this a fluke, a normal complication or something else?



Dear Edgar,

As with most dental procedures, the level of success of a CEREC crown and other CAD/CAM restorations, depends heavily on the skill of the dentist providing the service. Without more information, it’s not possible to say whether this was a fluke or an issue of skill, but it’s not a normal complication.

It’s possible that there was some kind of defect in the crown itself. It’s very rare for this to happen, as CAD/CAM machines are very precise and the material they use goes through quality checks, but it could be the case here.

More than likely, though, there was an issue with the way the tooth was prepared or the way the crown was placed. If you noticed your bite was off or that tooth was hitting first when you bit down, that’s a sign the restoration needed an adjustment. Failing to correct this would mean that abnormal amounts of force were being put on it, which would cause it to fracture or break apart.

Beyond that, there are a handful of other technical glitches that could happen with this procedure that would be brought on by a lack of skill. CEREC crowns did a lot of marketing and thus attracted many new dentists to CAD/CAM restorations, some of whom are still learning the trade.

If your dentist is offering to replace the restoration at no charge, it’s certainly worth another try, simply because it could have been a rare defect, but also so you’re not out any money. If, not, it might be best to research other dentists. CEREC crowns and other CAD/CAM restorations are generally very reliable, though, so if you do go somewhere else and the doctor wants to do another CAD/CAM restoration, ask him how many he’s done, how long he has been doing them and what his failure rate is. That will help ensure your next round is a success.

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

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