Tips and Tricks: Are Your Crowns Growing Ugly Over Time?

Tips and Tricks: Are Your Crowns Growing Ugly Over Time?


On today’s episode of AmericaSmiles Tips and Tricks, we’re going to talk about creating legacy crowns. What do I mean? Let me tell you a little story.

My nephew bought a new golden retriever pup. I hadn’t been to his house in a couple of weeks, and when I showed up at his house, I said, “Dude, your dog has grown so much in just two weeks!” He said, “I don’t see a difference. Are you serious?” I said, “Absolutely! There’s no doubt!” 

In the past two weeks, his dog has grown a lot. I went back to his house four weeks later. “Dude! Your dog is getting huge!” And he’s like, “I don’t see it.” The reason my nephew’s not seeing it is that he’s with the dog every day. That dog is growing, getting a little bit bigger every day. But he doesn’t see it. I’m showing up in two weeks; I’m showing up in four weeks. I see the growth. 


Are Your Crowns Growing Ugly Over Time?

Here’s the point: your crowns might be getting ugly over time and you don’t even know it. How can you see what you can’t see? You want to start a little habit. Create what we call here at America’s Smiles, legacy crowns. 

Every month we mill four crowns. We glaze two of them; we leave two unglazed. Then we have this library of what our crowns looked like in November of 2021. How do they look today in February of 2022? Has anything changed? Build these legacy crowns so that you can make sure that your crowns, which you were doing six months ago, look just as nice as the crowns that you’re doing today.


Keep Your Coloring Liquids Fresh

So, what are some of the reasons that your crowns might start getting ugly? Well, number one, it’s mostly related to either coloring liquids or the oven. So keep your coloring liquids fresh. If you’re coloring liquids are getting a little bit older, they’re not as effective. They can start discoloring the crowns; the shades might be darkening slightly. They could even get just a little bit dull. So your coloring liquids could be the source. Again, the only way you know is that your A3 doesn’t look the same today as it did six months ago because you’re creating legacy crowns. Just check them every month. Mill them, then pull up something from a few months ago. If they look identical, you’re good. 


Keep Your Ovens Clean

The other reason your crowns might start looking ugly is a dirty sintering oven. Sintering ovens, as I said in a previous video, should be blown out daily. Just blow a little air in there and get all the dust out of there. We also periodically put in what we call junk zirconia. When we’re done with these pucks, we break the pucks up into smaller pieces. We steam those pieces off to get all the dust off of them. On the weekend, we’ll pop raw zirconia into our sintering oven and let it cook—usually about a hundred or 200 degrees centigrade hotter than we’re cooking our regular teeth. We want to get that oven hot. You want good, pure, clean zirconia—no coloring liquids, no nothing. 

That purging—we call it a hyper purge—it’ll purge a lot of the contaminants out of the oven. We do that once a week here, but we’re putting, you know, 250 teeth a week in each oven. We’ve got 10 ovens. So, put raw zirconia in there, cook it at a real hot temperature, and cook the impurities out of there.


Calibrate Your Ovens

The other thing you want to do is calibrate your ovens. We sell little things called Lifesavers. They shrink at a known rate. You put those Lifesavers in your oven, and they’ll tell you exact temperatures. If you set your oven temperature to 1530°, they’ll let you know if you hit 1530° or not.

Lifesavers let you know if you’ve cooked too hot or too cold. You definitely want to calibrate your oven regularly. If you’ve got zirconia and you’re not milling legacy crowns, you can get increasingly uglier and uglier over time, and you won’t realize your coloring liquids have gone bad.

Your oven is just flat dirty. It needs cleaning, or it’s falling out of calibration. We sell calibration rings here at America’s Smiles if you need those. Feel free to give us a call, but absolutely create legacy crowns. Keep your coloring liquids fresh. Keep your ovens clean. Keep your ovens calibrated. And you’ll make beautiful zirconia crowns all throughout the year.

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