In the past, porcelain crowns and bridges were usually fused to a metal base to provide more strength, especially in the back teeth, where they needed to withstand the pressures of chewing. These porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns saved many a tooth, but they tended to look opaque and lifeless. And they almost always developed a tell-tale dark line as the gums pulled back from the metal base over time. Advances in ceramic materials and bonding techniques have made all-porcelain crowns available, meaning that you can have restorations that have the same translucent beauty of real teeth.
Advances in Porcelain Crowns
When porcelain crowns were fused to metal, the naturally transparent properties of the porcelain meant that they had to be thick and opaque enough to cover the dark underlying metal. But when new bonding techniques and ceramic materials became available, crowns could finally be thinner and more translucent. These all-porcelain crowns don’t ever produce a dark gum line. And now cosmetic dentists have several different ceramics to choose from, depending on the requirements of the situation.
You can see the difference between a porcelain-fused-to-metal crown in the photo above. This shows a patient who wanted to replace her older crowns because they looked flat, opaque, and lifeless, and they showed the characteristic dark gumline. The second photo shows the same patient after her crowns were replaced with all-porcelain crowns. It is easy to see how much more lifelike and translucent the new crowns are.
e. max Crowns
Dr. Dennis offers a very beautiful type of crown that is becoming more and more popular with cosmetic dentists. The process of creating these crowns is called the e. max process, and ceramic used for the underlying structure is made from an extremely strong ceramic called lithium disilicate. We create this in-house using our CEREC machine, explained below. Once the crown is milled, Dr. Dennis shaves off a thin layer of the surface and uses feldspathic porcelain for the surface, much like the way a porcelain veneer is used. This type of porcelain is considered by many to be the most beautiful porcelain to work with.
Same-Day CEREC Crowns
In the past, it was always necessary to have your tooth prepared for a crown and wear a temporary crown while your porcelain crown was being created. Then you would return for a second appointment where the dentist would remove the temporary crown and fit you with the permanent one. Dr. Dennis has invested in CEREC technology to eliminate the need for a second appointment. Often referred to as same-day crowns, they are created by a computer-guided machine right in the office. So now you can walk out with your beautiful new restoration after just one visit. You can learn more by reading our CEREC crowns page.
Dr. Dennis also offers zirconia bridges, which are made of a material called ceramic steel: learn more by reading our Zirconia Bridges page.
Then if you’d like to find out how porcelain crowns could improve the beauty and function of your smile, call our office or fill out our online request an appointment form, and we’ll be happy to call you.