A dental crown is a restorative element used to replace damaged or broken tooth enamel. During the process of prepping a tooth for a crown, a dentist will grind the exterior surface and create a margin over which it will sit. The ceramic structure will replace all that was taken off. Now, crowns are not only used to restore damaged teeth. They are one of the most versatile options to change the anatomy, shape, position, and color of teeth in a short time-frame. When taking into consideration so many esthetic elements, crowns must look as natural as possible. There are many advantages in full-ceramic crowns over traditional metal-porcelain crowns. Here are a couple of them to consider.
Have you ever noticed how natural tooth enamel looks like? It has multiple layers, pigments, and densities on different parts of the tooth. This depth of color and characterization is possible only with ceramic. The problem with metal-porcelain crowns is that in order to cover the gray metal substructure, a very opaque layer of porcelain must be used as a primer, and the space left to build up the depth of color is only a few millimeters. On the other hand, a well-made full ceramic crown can pass by unnoticed.
Metal porcelain crowns have a metal substructure composed of a mixture of several materials. This base is then fused through heat with the porcelain. However, to avoid gum recession and to protect the porcelain, there is usually a millimeter or two of exposed metal at the base of the crown. This metal ring is supposed to be covered by gum, but over time gum recession can expose it. In some other cases, if the metal is low on noble materials it can stain the gums in a dark color. This makes the crown very conspicuous. This does not happen with full-ceramic crowns.
It was traditionally held that metal-porcelain crowns are more resistant than porcelain crowns. However, with new technology, there are new materials that offer even more resistance than metal and that are much more esthetic. For example, zirconium, a type of ceramic, offers greater strength than the metal-porcelain because it is designed and milled in a single block. Naturally, it is easier to fracture a layer than an entire block structure. Over the years, zirconium has been fabricated in ever more esthetic forms.
To allow metal-porcelain crowns more space for layering ordered toward greater translucency, the dentist must remove more of your natural tooth structure. With full ceramic crowns, the core is already a natural-looking color, and so less layers of porcelain are necessary to achieve the desired translucency. This means that the dentist can prep less of the tooth structure.
A common objection to full-ceramic crowns is their costliness. It is clear it is in many ways a superior option and this is reflected on their price. However, at the Costa Rica Dental Team, we make it accessible to you. In fact, we believe so much in this material that all our restorations are designed in this way. We love to have our patients look and feel great with their teeth. Working with dental crowns is an art, and our team of dentists and lab technicians is very good at what it does. If you are looking to restore one or several teeth, this is the right place. Click here to look at some of our before and after pictures!