What's the difference between standard porcelain dental crowns and CEREC same-day dental crowns? And perhaps more importantly, why would a dentist strongly recommend the second option?

Making and Fitting

To start with, it's not your dentist suggesting a particular brand or label. CEREC means chairside economical restoration of esthetic ceramic and is the method for making and fitting your new crown. The keyword is chairside, meaning your new dental crown can be created while you're sitting in the dental chair at your local clinic. But why is this more-or-less instant option offered to some patients and not others?

Complexity of Case

The CEREC option is only available when a dental clinic invests in the technology, and it's certainly a wise investment. It's not practical in all cases. For example, the damage to your tooth (and the reason why you need a crown) may extend beneath the gum line. Complex cases may require a crown made by a dental technician, by hand. But when the necessary equipment is available, and the case is routine, you may not have to wait long for a new crown.

From Your Point of View

The process is extremely simple from a patient's point of view. There's no need to create a physical model, so your dentist won't instruct you to bite down on a piece of dental putty or anything similar. The required data is collected digitally, and your dentist will use a small handheld device to scan your tooth. This information is then sent to an onsite machine which immediately begins to mill a small porcelain block, creating your bespoke dental crown.

Preparing Your Tooth

In the meantime, your dentist can finish preparing your tooth to receive its crown. So the finished tooth isn't too bulky once its new crown is added (which can be uncomfortable and can even damage your other teeth), the tooth will be reduced in size. All this involves is having a thin layer of dental enamel removed from the entirety of the tooth's surface. This enamel has no nerve endings, so its removal won't be painful. By the time the crown has been made, your tooth will be ready to receive it. Your dentist can make any manual modifications if needed, and then the crown is cemented onto your waiting tooth. 

Fairly involved dental care can be achieved in a single visit, and this is why your dentist has strongly recommended a CEREC same-day dental crown.