Porcelain crowns have been a staple in cosmetic dentistry for years. It gives the dentist and patient a much more aesthetic appearance as a final product. In the past crowns and bridges were traditionally made of porcelain fused to metal (PFM). With the development of modern porcelain, which are incredibly strong and reflect light similar to natural teeth, full porcelain crowns can be used in most areas in which porcelain fused to metal crowns were used. This is especially true in a cosmetic area of the mouth.
Porcelain crowns are very versatile and used in many ways. The cosmetic enhancement use of porcelain crowns include, changing color of teeth, closing gaps between teeth, fixing teeth that are crooked or crowded, changing shape or size of teeth. Porcelain crowns are also used to cover and protect damaged teeth, (tooth that has a root canal, broken, cracked, large fillings), and to act as a new tooth in the case of dental implants. Their versatility gives the dentist a greater flexibility in using them to fix potential issues for the patient.
The first step often times includes impressions for study models and photos. The patient and dentist can then discuss and plan what the end result should be. The treatment includes preparation of the tooth surface for the porcelain crowns. The outer enamel and sometimes a bit of the dentin are removed. This allows room for the porcelain crowns to fit over the teeth and be in perfect cosmetic alignment with the others. Impressions are taken of the newly reshaped teeth and temporary crowns are made. The porcelain crowns are custom made in the laboratory. The porcelain crowns are then cemented or bonded onto the teeth using an adhesive bonding material. The placement of the porcelain crown will normally take about 30 minutes (depends on amount of porcelain crowns being placed). Once completed, the patient can eat normally and enjoy the benefits of a beautiful new porcelain crown that matches and blends perfectly with the patients existing teeth. Only you and the dentist should know anything was done.
-No PFM gray or black lines at the Gum Line of Teeth. You may have noticed a person with a dark line in the gum area alonga PFM crown edge. With PFM crowns, the soft tissue around the tooth can recede over time. This allows a reveal of the metal framework underneath. This cannot happen with an all porcelain crowns because they are metal free.
-Perfect Fit. Porcelain crowns are created in state of the art facilities. Porcelain crowns will fit so well you will even forget they are present.
-Cosmetically Perfect Match. All porcelain crowns have the ability with modern porcelains to match your existing shade of tooth color as well as mimic the light reflecting properties of your natural teeth. Porcelain crowns will be undetectable to anyone but you and your dentist. Dental porcelain can be shaped custom colored and sculpted to closely copy the look of your own natural tooth enamel. All the while providing the desired strength and resilience.
Some disadvantages of an all porcelain crowns:
-Higher cost over traditional PFM crowns.
-Durability. While porcelain crowns are very durable, they do not have the flexibility of natural teeth, they can fracture. Avoiding certain foods may be necessary. For example, Biting into sandwich with a hard bread. Patients who grind and clench their teeth will need to be fitted with a mouth guard to protect the porcelain crown from unnecessary and excessive pressures.
-Porcelain crowns may need a bit more reduction of tooth structure than traditional PFM crowns.
-Sensitivity may happen for a short time, (hot, cold sensitivity), especially with bonded porcelain crowns.
Follow-up Maintenance of All Porcelain Crowns
The maintenance of porcelain crowns is actually very easy. They require routine brushing with non-abrasive fluoride toothpaste and regular flossing as well as regular visits to the dentist. A follow-up appointment will be scheduled to evaluate the porcelain crowns about 2-4 weeks after they are placed in the mouth This allows the dentist to review the work with tissues all healed and see how your oral tissues are reacting to the crowns. Even if you think the crowns are successful, this appointment is an important part of your future oral health.
There are several types of all porcelain crowns generally used in dental offices today. They have all proven to give the best cosmetic dental results.
-Zirconia Crowns or Lava Crowns (made by 3M Espe). This type of all porcelain crowns are made out of a zirconium core with porcelain pressed or layered over the crown to follow the natural contours of teeth. These crowns offer good strength and durability. Due to great strength, the material can be used to make a bridge.
-Procera Crowns (made by Nobel Biocare). These are made of an Alumina core with porcelain pressed or layered over the crown to follow the natural contours of the teeth. These crowns offer great strength and durability and are esthetically quite beautiful. Often used in the back of the mouth, (premolars, molars), these are cemented in with traditional cement and have less post-placement sensitivity.
-Empress II Crowns (made by Ivoclar Vivadent).These highly cosmetic porcelain crowns are used in the front of the mouth. They are used mostly for cosmetics, are very beautiful, but can fracture.
-eMAX Crowns or IPS e.MAX Crowns (made by Ivoclar Vivadent). These porcelain crowns are entirely made out of porcelain without a underlying framework. The absence of this framework offers a great advantage over Zirconia crowns, Lava crowns and Procera crowns in that e.MAX crowns allow for more light transmission through the crown translating to a more superior cosmetic dental result. The strength of these porcelain crowns is such that they can be used in any area of the mouth, can be made thinner than most porcelains, and can be used for an implant without much worry of fracture.
Cosmetic Dentistry is the art and science of creating a beautiful smile. The all porcelain crowns are just one more tool that the dentist can use to give you that smile you have always dreamed of.