What A Dental Laboratory Does To Produce A Personalized Crown

Posted on: 24 May 2023

Behind every dental crown lies meticulous and skilled work, usually conducted in a dental laboratory. A dental crown lab is one that specializes in the formation of crowns, a popular solution when it comes to the restoration of damaged or missing teeth, these days. Technicians at the dental crown laboratory will fashion the cap that will then fit over your natural tooth or implant. The idea is that it will restore its shape, size, and function. Find out more about the work that is carried on behind-the-scenes when your dentist recommends having a crown made for you.

Receiving the Dentist's Prescription

To begin with, dental laboratory technicians need some form of notification to start. Typically, this will take the form of a dentist's prescription, nowadays. Your dentist should have made a detailed impression of your mouth and included it with the prescription. This scan or impression information will provide the laboratory with a precise idea of the shape of your mouth and the surrounding teeth where the crown will ultimately be fitted. With the right information, the technicians will be able to customize your crown such that it fits perfectly while matching your existing teeth in terms of shape, size, and color.

Creating a Dental Cast

The dental technician who will make your crown will first create a dental cast from the provided impression. This cast function acts as a replica of your mouth on a 1:1 scale. It allows the technician to understand your bite and tooth orientation better without needing to see you directly.

Designing the Crown

The next step is to use the dental cast to sculpt a wax or resin model of the crown and position it where the real thing will go. The model fashioned in the dental laboratory will reflect the shape and size of the finished product. This process might be performed manually just like an artist might sculpt something from clay. However, more modern dental crown labs often make use of computer-aided design software, since this will typically enhance precision and accuracy.

Creating the Personalized Crown

The process of making the crown itself involves a technique called lost wax casting. Placing the model in a plaster-like investment material, it will then be heated so that the wax or resin will melt, allowing it to be removed. It will leave behind a perfect mold. Molten dental material is then poured into this mold, allowed to cool, and solidified. The most common materials for this are metal or ceramic. However, a combination of the two may also be used, depending on the type of crown.

Refining the Crown

After the crown cools, it is removed from the investment material. If the crown will fit into an implant, then it may need to have a screw thread drilled into it, work that sometimes takes place at a dental abutment laboratory. These days, however, many dental labs have their own abutment laboratory in-house. With the crown almost ready, it will be cleaned and polished. The technician working on it may apply a layer of porcelain to mimic the color of natural teeth at this stage. The refined crown will then be sent from the dental laboratory back to the prescribing dentist ready for it to be fitted.

Reach out to a local dental laboratory to learn more.