On Sunday I made a visit to the emergency dentist for a severe toothache. I had been hoping to put this visit off until I had new dental insurance, but teeth get angry on their own schedule. The tooth had previously been drilled & filled, and had been sensitive to cold afterward (which my normal dentist told me was due to receding gums from overbrushing), and was painful to bite down on. As a result, this wasn't surprising. But the ice water required to keep it from being excruciatingly painful told me it was gonna need a root canal. The dentist agreed and got to work. Yesterday I went back for the second visit, in which the reconstruction took place.
In the past when I have needed a crown over a root canal, it has taken over a week to have it fabricated at some remote location and mailed to my dentist for installation. In the meantime I have had to have a temporary crown in place that has to be glued on and then pried off (which is not a comfortable process!) so that the permanent crown can be installed. This time, Union Street Dental Care's Dr. Dintcho was able to design and fabricate the crown in about half an hour using a CEREC 3 system. This is a combination of a CAD/CAM workstation called the Acquisition Center, which is used to photograph and model the patient's teeth and to design a restoration, and a milling machine that fabricates the restoration from a small ceramic block.