What Is A PFM Crown?

illustration of PFM crowns

Did something happen to your tooth that is far too severe for a dental filling? Perhaps you broke your tooth or are suffering from the effects of severe tooth decay. No matter the problem, a PFM crown is a wonderful solution to protect your remaining tooth, so you can avoid an extraction.

In many cases, we will suggest PFM (porcelain-fused-to-metal) crowns as a means of combining esthetic value with durable function. Dr. James Fondriest helps patients in Chicago attain the look and function they need for optimum oral health, which may include placement of a crown. Contact our office by calling (847) 234-0517 for an appointment.

How Does a PFM Crown Protect a Damaged Tooth?

All dental crown types, including PFM crowns, can be ideal solutions for patients with damaged teeth that still have healthy structure remaining. From a functional standpoint, the PFM crown will provide added support to the tooth, protecting it from additional damage or decay. Plus, the crown will act just like a regular tooth, making eating and speaking simple.

From a purely cosmetic view, any crown will take the place of the tooth as part of the smile. Because high-quality porcelain restorations are both beautiful and lifelike, they automatically enhance a patient’s appearance. Even if the PFM crown is in the back of the mouth, it can still provide both aesthetic and functional purposes.

What Does PFM Actually Mean?

PFM crowns before and after

This patient had PFM crowns done on her front 4 teeth.

PFM is short for porcelain-fused-to-metal, although some individuals also use the term “porcelain  on metal crown” to describe these types of restorations. At our office, we prefer gold alloy metal bases for our PFM crowns, and we opt to partner only with laboratories that utilize the highest quality porcelain. This ensures a long-lasting restoration that you will be proud to wear.

How Does a porcelain fused to gold restoration differ from the all porcelain alternative?

You may have heard that you should ask your dentist about an all porcelain crown to cap your damaged or decayed tooth. Yet a PFM crown might be a better alternative. Why? When we offer all-porcelain crowns, you will simply receive a hollow, artificial tooth crafted completely out of porcelain without any type of supportive metal base.

What benefits does the metal offer?

In some cases, patients simply need more support than an all-porcelain crown can realistically offer. A PFM crown is composed of a metal base over which we attach layers of porcelain. This combines the esthetic beauty of ceramic with the sturdiness of metal. It is a perfect solution for patients whose teeth are severely damaged, or for patients who require placement of long bridges.

How Does a PFM Crown Better Support the Placement of a Bridge?

A bridge fills in the gap created by one or more missing teeth. An especially long bridge relies on sturdy end crowns to keep the bridge in place. Due to their metal bases, PFM crowns are more likely to be able to support the bridge. This is particularly important if the natural abutment teeth are somewhat damaged and could use the stability of a dental crown with a metal base.

Is a PFM Crown Right for Someone With Bruxism?

Patients who present bruxism behaviors grind or clench their teeth during sleep. This places significant pressure on the dental crown, which can lead to breakage and damage if the crown is not strong enough. All-porcelain dental crowns are at greater risk of cracking or chipping if a patient grinds his or her teeth. PFM crowns tend to withstand the forces from bruxism more successfully.

Of course, if you are diagnosed with bruxism, you may want to discuss special treatments with your dentist. A dentist can help you understand your options for minimizing tooth damage due to tooth grinding.

What Are the Top Benefits to Receiving PFM Crowns?

Patients who receive these restorations based on the recommendations of their dentists can expect to enjoy several of the following advantages:

  • Stronger teeth: PFM crowns help support damaged teeth that might otherwise be lost or extracted.
  • High success rates: PFM crowns can last a lifetime with proper care.
  • No metal allergic reactions: The gold alloy we use in our PFM crowns is non-reactive, making it the perfect base for patients with metal allergies.
  • Beautiful smile: A PFM crown is custom-created to look lifelike, down to the shape and shade of the restoration.
  • Lowered tooth sensitivity post-placement: Most patients who receive PFM crowns report very little tooth sensitivity afterwards compared to patients who receive other types of dental crowns.

Can a PFM Crown Be Placed In a Patient With Gum Disease?

Patients who have gum disease and require a PFM crown can still undergo treatment. Before placing the crown, however, your doctor may recommend a deep dental cleaning or other periodontal treatment. This will eliminate the infection in the gums so there will be a strong foundation for your new restoration.

Can You See the Metal Underneath the PFM Crown?

No. However, you may have seen other individuals whose PFM crowns display a black line at the gum line. We practice artistic dentistry in every treatment we offer, which means we use special techniques and work with master ceramicists to ensure your smile looks natural and beautiful once we are finished with your procedure.

Additionally, we only work with laboratories that produce the highest levels. We do not partner with laboratories that use low-grade metals. All PFM crowns we deliver from our office are comprised from 14+ carat gold alloy.

Do You Offer Second Dental Crown Opinions?

If you visited another dentist in the Chicago area but are not sure you are ready to get the type of dental crown they suggested, please contact our practice. We will perform an examination and give you our feedback based on your individual health history and future goals.

Are PFM Crowns Affordable?

Crowns with gold copings cost more than all-porcelain versions. At the same time, they can last much longer because they are stronger. At least one case study indicated that a PFM crown had lasted no less than 70 years. All-porcelain crowns simply do not have this type of lasting power.

To help you cover the cost of your treatment, our office offers financing arrangements. Crowns may be partially covered by some insurance carriers.

Contact Us Today

If you need to restore a damaged tooth, make an appointment with Dr. Fondriest. Our team is happy to discuss treatment options with you. Take the first step to a healthier smile today.

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