Q: I need to get a cap for my tooth but can’t bear the thought of the impression material in my mouth, as I gag easily. Are there any alternatives out there?

You haven’t mentioned why you need a crown but I am assuming that maybe the tooth had a major breakdown or it’s a back tooth that might have had a root canal treatment?

[Why is dental work so expensive?]

There are certain medications that can help with the gag reflex. However, most of them can cause drowsiness and you might want someone to drive you to the clinic and then back home after the treatment. They take time to take effect and take time to wear off.

The second way is the use of nitrous oxide. Nitrous oxide or laughing gas as it’s commonly known (and yes it’s the same stuff used in the "nitro" of the Fast and Furious series!) is another amazing way to prevent a gag reflex. It also has multiple additional benefits – such as rapid action, reduction of pain and anxiety, comfort during long procedures – and it completely wears off in three minutes or so. You can drive back home safely without anyone accompanying you.

Last is an amazing piece of tech called intra-oral scanners. These are rapid cameras that take hundreds of super high-resolution photos of your teeth and stitch them together to get a 3D reconstruction. This way you can avoid the impression material completely.

Your crown is designed using CAD-CAM technology using the 3D images taken from the scanner and then milled out of solid ceramic or porcelain blocks without a physical model ever being made. The accuracy of these crowns are usually much better – usually in the range of around 50 microns – less than the thickness of a human hair. The crowns are then cemented in the usual way.

One final word – please do not delay the fabrication of your cap, especially if you have had a root-canal treatment in a back tooth. Most of these teeth eventually break during chewing sooner or later. All the best with your treatment.

Tanveer Ahmed is an implantologist, dental surgeon and medical director at New Ivory Dental and Implant Clinic. Got a problem? Our fantastic panel of renowned experts is available to answer all your questions related to fashion, well-being, nutrition, finance and hypnotherapy. Email your queries to friday@gulfnews.com.