Types of Dental Crowns

Dental crowns are a protective cap placed on damaged teeth to prevent bacteria, acids and sugars from damaging the tooth underneath. They can also improve the look of a damaged tooth.

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VC Dental uses a CEREC crown process to construct, produce and insert individual ceramic restorations directly at the point of treatment (chairside). This saves time and the need for multiple appointments.

Porcelain Crowns

Porcelain crowns are tooth-shaped caps that fit over and restore the portion of a damaged natural tooth that extends above the gum line. They are the most common type of dental crowns available today. These crowns are made from a translucent porcelain material that mimics the color and luster of real teeth. They also have the strength and durability to withstand biting and chewing forces. Porcelain crowns are biocompatible and don’t cause allergic reactions in patients.

They are a popular choice for front teeth restorations, but can be used on molars as well to protect and reinforce them from tooth decay or damage from bruxism (teeth grinding).

Before a porcelain crown can be fitted, the dentist numbs the affected tooth, files it down to make room for the cap and takes an impression of it. The dentist may also use the impression to create a temporary crown that stays on the tooth until the final one is ready in the lab.

Some porcelain crowns are fused to a metal base. This is often referred to as a PFM crown or a VMK crown (which stands for Vita metal Keramik). These types of crowns are stronger than all-porcelain crowns, but the dark metallic color shows through the custom top layer of porcelain, so they don’t look as natural.

Metal Crowns

Metal crowns are usually made of gold or a metal alloy (such as a mix of copper, nickel, zinc, silver and/or chromium). They are extremely strong, bond very well with teeth and resist biting and chewing forces. They require the least amount of healthy tooth structure to be removed and don’t wear down adjacent teeth. They can be used in the back molars for maximum strength, but are also good options for patients who grind or clench their teeth, as they are less likely to break than porcelain crowns.

The problem with metal dental crowns is that they can generate an electric current in the mouth when different types of metal are placed together (it’s the same principle as batteries). This phenomenon, called a galvanic current, can weaken the metal and cause it to corrode or rust. This is rarely a problem, but it’s something to keep in mind if you’re planning on using an MRI scanner in the future.

Porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns are made of a porcelain top that covers all or most of the surface of the metal substructure, making them look more natural. These are very strong and blend in well with back teeth, but the metal may show through on front teeth. All-ceramic and all-porcelain crowns use multiple shades of ceramic in different regions to achieve the best colour match with your existing teeth. These are fabricated on-site by our CEREC machine in a single appointment, so you won’t have to come back for another visit.

Metal-Free Crowns

Metal-free crowns provide a more natural aesthetic to the tooth. These crowns are ideal for self-conscious teens, working professionals, and stay-at-home parents who are concerned about compromising their daily appearance. Additionally, they allow people with sensitive teeth to avoid the irritation associated with traditional metal restorations.

Historically, metal-free crowns have been made with porcelain fused to metal (PFM). However, advances in monolithic zirconia technology now offer dentists an alternative to PFM crowns. These new zirconium crowns have higher fracture resistance and resist cracking and chipping better than PFM.

Zirconium crowns are also extremely durable and can withstand significant bite force. They are the best choice for molars, which receive considerable wear and tear from chewing and grinding.

Additionally, zirconium crowns don’t have the dark line that you’ll see on older crowns at the gum line. They are translucent and reflect light in a similar way to your natural tooth enamel.

Finally, the absence of a metal core means that the crown will not trigger sensitivity to hot or cold food. Unlike metal crowns, these new monolithic zirconia crowns are less conductive and won’t expose your natural tooth to unnecessary stress. We’re pleased to offer these advanced restorations at our office using our CEREC CAD/CAM system, which allows us to create your custom metal-free crown on the spot in less than two hours.

Bridges

A dental bridge is a replacement for one or more missing teeth. A traditional dental bridge has a crown on either side with a false tooth (pontic) in between. A dentist recommends this treatment for patients who have healthy, adjacent teeth that can act as anchors.

The most common type of dental bridges have traditional crowns on both ends and a pontic in between. These are used for patients with a gap in their teeth where the other options may not be appropriate or possible.

Dental bridges can be made from many different materials including porcelain, ceramic, and acrylic. Porcelain, ceramic and acrylic offer a more natural aesthetic while metal alloys provide a more durable option.

The choice of material can depend on the location and purpose of the dental bridge as well as personal preference and cost. Both options can last a long time if patients follow the recommended oral hygiene practices and avoid harmful habits like teeth grinding.

Dental crowns are a great solution for damaged, broken or weakened teeth. They can also protect a cracked tooth from further damage and prevent the crack from spreading. The best choice for your dental needs will be determined in consultation with a dentist who is familiar with your oral health history and can make an informed recommendation.