Dental Crowns

What is a dental crown?

Dental crowns

Porcelain dental crowns made from Empress

A dental crown is a type of dental restoration. It is fabricated in the shape of the damaged tooth and is placed over it. Crowns are also referred to as caps because they literally “cap,” or cover, the tooth restoring it to its original shape, size, and strength. Depending on what type of crown material is used, sometimes the tooth restoration is even stronger than the actual tooth, particularly if it is a metal crown. While your Dr. Fondriest prefers to use all-porcelain or all-ceramic dental crowns, he will evaluate your case carefully and choose the strongest and most aesthetic option for your individual case.

Why a Crown?

Crowns are often the treatment of choice when a tooth has been severely damaged by decay, breakage, or a large filling that has failed. The philosophy of minimally invasive dentistry deems that even if a substantial amount of tooth structure has been lost, if the remaining tooth is healthy, the original tooth should be restored rather than extracted and replaced with an implant. A crown can restore the function and beauty of the tooth in a minimally invasive way. Reasons for using dental crowns include:

  • To restore worn, chipped, cracked, or decayed teeth
  • To cover discolored or deformed teeth
  • To restore teeth with large fillings
  • To cover dental implants
  • To support dental bridges

Why a Ceramic Crown?

·         All-ceramic dental materials are more aesthetic than metal. Although there are times when porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns are the better choice, for front teeth they are avoided because the metal crown margin can show at the gumline.

·         The color and translucent nature of ceramic materials are similar to the properties of natural teeth and can be fabricated to aesthetically blend with surrounding dentition.

·         Keeping with the minimally invasive philosophy, dental ceramic can be fabricated thinner allowing for less removal of the natural tooth structure.

Dental crowns

This patient previously had old crowns that were opaque and had exposed margins that were stained at the gumline. She wanted porcelain that matched her natural teeth.

Porcelain-Fused-To-Metal Crowns

Porcelain-fused-to-metal  (PFM) crowns: Porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns were the treatment of choice for 35 years. The substructure (coping), fabricated of a metallic alloy, provides strength and durability. For aesthetics a tooth-colored ceramic dental material is baked onto the metal coping.  Because they can stand up to stress, PFM’s are still the treatment of choice particularly for back teeth when there is a need for a long-span bridge, or when bruxism (grinding and clenching of teeth) is suspected. Strength and aesthetics are advantages of PFM restorations. Disadvantages include the unattractive black line (the metal crown margin) at the gumline, and the appearance of the metal crown under conditions such as receding gums, chips, or cracks.

Types Of Porcelains

There are a variety of porcelains available for dental crowns including:

E Max: E Max is a new dental porcelain than can be fabricated as thin as 0.2mm for a minimally invasive restoration. It has natural tooth-like light transmitting properties and tooth-like shade behavior making it an aesthetic choice for anterior teeth.

E Max Monolithic: E Max Monolithic is a coping material and a newer option for back teeth bruxers due to its strength and durability. It has natural tooth-like aesthetics, including tooth-like translucency. Because there is no need for a veneer layer, the chances of chipping and cracking are highly reduced.

Zirconium: Zirconium is commonly used for implant abutments and anterior bridges. The zirconium base is strong and durable but can appear unnaturally white.

Feldspathic: Feldspathic porcelain requires a laboratory technician with skill and talent because it is technique sensitive. There is no coping (base) but rather many layers of monolithic porcelain are “stacked” to create a very natural rendition of a tooth.

Each type of porcelain has its advantages. It is up to the dentist and lab technician’s expertise to decide which type of crown will perform the best in each individual situation. They will take into consideration their skills, handling characteristics of the material, strength, aesthetics, location of the crown, and abrasiveness against surrounding teeth when considering each case.

About Your Lake Forest Dentist:

Aside from providing expert general and cosmetic dentistry services, Dr. James Fondriest also holds highly-respected academic appointments at the Pankey Institute in Key Biscayne, FL, and the Spear Institute in Scottsdale, AZ, and he is an Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Department of Prosthodontics at the University of Florida Dental School. At Lake Forest Dental Arts, To schedule your consultation, call our office today at (847) 234-0517.

Dr Fondriest is a Nationally recognized and highly sought after cosmetic dentist serving clients from throughout the United States 

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