Often a filling is enough to repair a damaged tooth, but when a filling gets large and there is a risk that a tooth will break, Dr. Bolt will recommend a crown, in order to protect your tooth. Even if a tooth is damaged or weakened on the surface, as long as the tooth root is healthy it will be safe to place a crown, and you get to keep your natural tooth.
What is a porcelain crown?
A crown is a prosthetic tooth that fits over your natural one. Sometimes people call these caps. A crown is usually placed in just two appointments. First you will be given an exam to make sure that your teeth and their roots are healthy. Next, the tooth receiving the crown is prepared by having any decay removed, the shape of the tooth will be gently shaved to make room for the crown, and then an impression of your teeth is made. Your actual porcelain crown will have to be made and shaped by a lab. While you are waiting, you will also be provided with a temporary crown to protect the tooth. Once your new porcelain crown is ready it will be permanently bonded at your second appointment.
All porcelain versus porcelain fused to metal crowns
There are two basic crown types that can be called porcelain crowns. One is the porcelain fused to metal crowns. The other is all-porcelain crowns. Dr. Bolt places the all porcelain crowns. Traditionally, dentists used porcelain fused to metal crowns because the metal gives added strength to the porcelain. Though not perfect, it was felt that the esthetics were adequate. However, recent years have brought developments in technology that allows porcelain to be bonded directly to tooth structure, which improves their strength. And recently, new zirconia ceramics, also called "ceramic steel," have been developed.
Porcelain Fused to Metal Crowns
All Porcelain Crowns
When the porcelain has to be baked onto a metal foundation it requires an opaque layer to block out the gray color of the metal. As you can see from the picture on the left, this makes them look dull and unnatural. Our natural teeth are translucent, transmitting light. Now compare that with the picture on the right. Eliminating the metal foundation makes it so that the crowns can also be made translucent. With the beautiful optical properties of porcelain, it is possible to have a crown that looks as gorgeous as a natural tooth.
Another problem caused by crowns that have a metal foundation is that they create a dark line at the gumline. This line may be hidden by the gums when the crown is first placed, but as the gums recede over the years it will become apparent. Pure porcelain can be blended to create an invisible transition between crown and tooth. You will never have to deal with a dark line on your all porcelain crowns.
If you would like to know if you are a candidate for porcelain crowns, you may request an appointment with Dr. Bolt.