When I visited the dental hygienist last week for my regular cleaning and checkup, the dentist discovered a fracture in number 18 (molar lower left side). I had been noticing a little cold and pressure sensitivity in that area, so we mutually decided that a crown for the tooth would be a good idea.
When The Better Half had a similar procedure nearly two years ago, we were amazed that the dentist was able to prepare the tooth and install the new crown the same day. Just before I retired in 2009, I got a crown and the dentist installed a temporary while the lab produced the permanent one which took about a week.
The electronic console seen in the (clickable) image is part of a system that computer-generates a 3D model of the new crown. The dentist uses a scanner to record the topography of the prepared tooth area and the computer generates a model which the dentist then customizes with slight corrections.
The image on the console is of the new crown while it was being manufactured in another room. The crown took about fifteen minutes to mill from a lithium disilicate substrate. The finished item is then baked for a while in a very high temperature oven to complete the process. When the crown cools, the dentist installs it and makes any minor adjustments.
The whole process took less than two hours to complete, including my wait in the dentist office before being seen. The tooth feels quite normal and eating/drinking is no problem.