CEREC vs. Traditional Crown: Which Is Better for You?

dental technology

If you require a dental crown, you may be wondering which type of crown is right for you: CEREC or traditional crowns? The answer depends on your individual needs and preferences. Both traditional crowns and CEREC crowns have advantages and disadvantages, so talking with your dentist will help in deciding which one is best.

What are dental crowns, and how do you know if you need them?

A crown restores a tooth’s shape, size, and function after being damaged or missing. It can also improve the appearance or protect the tooth.

A dental crown may be needed to fix the following issues:

  • Tooth decay
  • Severely discolored teeth
  • Broken tooth
  • Attach a bridge to replace missing teeth
  • Protect a weak tooth from fracturing
  • Restore a fractured tooth
  • Severely worn down teeth
  • Poorly shaped or discolored tooth
  • Cover a dental implant

You may also need a crown if your natural tooth structure is not sufficient to support a tooth that has a large filling.

What are different types of crowns, and how long do they last?

There are three different types of dental crowns your dentist can give you. Depending on the issue with your tooth, the type will vary. 

Temporary Crowns: Temporary dental crowns are required between tooth preparation and permanent crown placement appointments. They can also cover a root canal or repaired teeth. The dentist can either place it on a single tooth or use it as a bridge for surrounding teeth. Temporary crowns are usually worn for two to three weeks. Floss and chew with extra care when you have a temporary crown in place since they are more delicate than permanent ones.

Permanent Dental Crown: A permanent or traditional crown fully surrounds your teeth. Based on the type of dental material used, the average lifespan of a crown is around 10-15 years. However, some crowns may last for decades with proper care, good dental hygiene habits, and regular dental check-ups.

Onlay: Sometimes called a three-quarter crown, it only covers parts of the tooth. It’s considered a more traditional approach than complete coverage of your tooth. Onlay’s are recommended when you still have a solid tooth structure. 

What is the difference between CEREC crowns and traditional dental crowns?

CEREC crowns and traditional dental crowns are both types of permanent dental crowns. However, CEREC crowns are made out of ceramic material that is matched to the color of your teeth while traditional dental crowns use metal or porcelain. Your dentist may recommend one of these two types of dental crown if your tooth is damaged above the gum line and can’t be filled.

No matter what material is used, all crowns are made to fit over the existing tooth. This means that the crown must be the same size and shape as the original prepared tooth. The dentist will examine the natural teeth to ensure that the crown is a perfect fit. Once your crown is made, it will be placed over the tooth and cemented into place. Crowns usually last for many years, but they may need to be replaced if they become loose or damaged. Your crown should look natural and fit comfortably in your mouth.


Dental crown costs will vary depending on the material used, and the preparation required. While you might assume that Chairside Economical Restoration of Esthetic Ceramic, aka CEREC crowns, are more expensive, they are usually the same price. Both dental crowns cost anywhere from $800 to $3,000.

Depending on your dental insurance, parts of your bill can be covered. Keep in mind because there are fewer dental visits for CEREC, you’ll likely save time and money on copays. 


Both CEREC crowns and traditional crowns can last 10 to 15 years. However, the lifespan of a crown depends on the patient’s oral health. 


You can walk into a dentist’s office and walk out with your new CEREC crown on the same day. The dentist will use a computer-aided manufacturing machine to capture a digital impression of your tooth and jaw. The computer-aided designed crown will be built and ready for installation.

For traditional dental crowns, the first appointment usually lasts about two hours. Then it takes around two to three weeks for the dental lab to make the permanent crown. Sometimes, you need an additional appointment to place a temporary crown. These two procedures take no longer than 40 minutes.


Traditional dental crowns are sturdy metal, stainless steel silver, and gold. They normally have a good fit, but the materials are more noticeable. The crowns successfully cap your teeth but are less aesthetically pleasing.

CEREC crowns are made from porcelain and ceramic, a durable and sturdy material. The computer-aided technology used to make CEREC crowns allows them to have a more comfortable fit. By using 3D imaging, dentists can also match the color of your real tooth.

How long do they take to make?

A traditional dental crown takes multiple appointments within a waiting period of several few weeks. A temporary crown may be required during this time.

A CEREC crown can be made in a single visit. At your appointment, your dentist will use a small camera to create 3D digital impressions of your mouth. A milling machine is then utilized to develop the ceramic crown. The dentist takes the impression right on the spot, and the computer imaging creates the crown right away. The whole visit takes about two hours; no temporary crown is required. 


Traditional crowns require you to schedule multiple appointments with your dentist and wear a temporary crown between them.

The entire procedure for a CEREC dental crown placement is done in a single appointment. They are same-day crowns; you come in, you are given your crown. The whole process should only take about two hours. 

CEREC or Traditional Crowns: Which Dental Crown is Right for You?

So, which type of crown is right for you? The answer depends on your individual needs and preferences. If you are looking for a solid and durable porcelain crown, a CEREC crown may be the best option. Ultimately, the decision is up to you and your dentist!

If you have any questions about CEREC vs. traditional crowns, or if you would like to schedule an appointment, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our office. We would be happy to help you choose the best option for your smile!