Once commonly referred to as, “porcelain jackets,” today’s all-ceramic crowns are fabricated from advanced generations of aesthetically appealing, lifelike materials affording strength and durability approaching that of tradition metal and porcelain fused to metal crowns (PFM).
When a tooth requires a full coverage restoration to rebuild its structural integrity and appearance, how good the crown will look and how well it will withstand the forces of oral function are major considerations in choosing the type of crown. In the past, only metal crowns or ones fabricated out of porcelain fused to an underlying substructure of metal offered the strength required to bite and chew without breaking. While porcelain fused to metal crowns to this day remain a popular choice for strong, attractive and long-lasting restorations to rebuild teeth that are damaged, decayed, misshapen, worn down, undersized, or have had a root canal procedure, there are some drawbacks. For one thing, the thin metal margin at the collar of a PFM crown may be visible at the gumline (especially in the presence of receding gums). Also, due to the presence of an underlying metal shell, porcelain fused to metal crowns do not come close to handling light in the same way as natural tooth structure or dental ceramics.
Advantages of Ceramic Crowns
While the trade off between appearance and strength used to mean that porcelain or all-ceramic crowns looked better but did not have the strength and durability of porcelain fused to metal crowns that is no longer the case. All-ceramic crowns are not only capable of producing incredibly lifelike results, but thanks to the range of materials available today, all-ceramic crowns are stronger and more reliable than ever before.
Some of the advantages of all-ceramic crowns include:
- All-ceramic crowns interact with light in much the same way as natural teeth and can closely mimic their translucency and luster
- All-ceramic crowns can be made thinner and require less tooth reduction
- All-ceramic crowns are kinder to the surrounding tissues, for potentially healthier long-term results
- All-ceramic crowns are resistant to stain and discoloration
- All-ceramic crowns are metal-free and safer for individuals with allergies or sensitivities to metal
With the range of engineered dental ceramics available today, which material is selected for crown fabrication depends upon the location of the tooth, the stresses on that tooth and the esthetic requirements of the case. Certain all-ceramic crowns are more suited for back teeth, while others are able to fulfill the aesthetic requirements presented by a front tooth. Some of the all-ceramic crowns used today include Feldspathic porcelain crowns, Empress crowns, Procera crowns, Lava crowns, Zirconia crowns, and Emax crowns.
While a dental filling is designed to replace a portion of a decayed or damaged tooth, a dental crown offers full coverage to restore the tooth’s entire outer surface. A well-fitting dental crown not only protects and strengthens the underlying tooth structure, but it also restores the tooth’s appearance and function.
The procedure for getting an all-ceramic crown is much like the procedure for getting any other type of crown. In all cases, the tooth needs to be prepared, an impression taken, and a permanent crown cemented into place. A single all-ceramic crown can typically be fabricated over the course of two visits. However, with CAD/CAM technology, a same-day crown can be fabricated from start to finish in a single visit. With the first approach, a temporary crown is typically worn until the second visit, when the permanent restoration is placed. As with every treatment plan, our office will explain your best options in care.
As the name implies, a temporary crown is only worn for a short time until the permanent crown is placed. A temporary crown is typically fabricated from durable tooth-colored dental acrylics. While designed to protect the underlying tooth between appointments, and until your new permanent crown gets placed, a temporary crown is also fabricated to look like a natural tooth and maintain the look of your smile.
While you should feel better having an attractive and functional tooth to restore your smile, your tooth may feel a little sensitive following treatment. This initial sensitivity will subside. We take great care to make sure your new restoration looks great, fits well, and your bite is perfect. However, we’re always happy to make any minor adjustments to ensure your comfort.
With some exceptions, teeth with root canal procedures are typically restored and protected from further damage with a full-coverage crown. Based on what’s best for your smile, our office will recommend the most appropriate restoration to maintain the health and longevity of your tooth following a root canal procedure.
A dental crown is a long-term restoration that, if properly cared for, can serve you well for many years to come. Once your new crown is placed, it requires the same brushing, flossing, and periodic checkups as your natural teeth. Avoid biting your fingernails and chewing on hard or sticky objects such as ice, pencils, or taffy, which can damage or loosen your crown. Remember, clenching and grinding your teeth puts excessive pressure on both natural teeth and dental restorations. Unless treated, this habit can compromise the longevity and integrity of your dental work, including crowns.
Although your new all-ceramic crown restores the tooth's strength, form, and function, you can still develop dental disease in the absence of proper care. To prevent gum disease and tooth decay, it’s essential to brush and floss as instructed and see our office for routine checkups, cleanings, and care.
How long a dental crown lasts depends on various factors, including your level of oral care, diet, and oral habits. While the standard answer is that dental crowns can last anywhere from 5 to 15 years, existing literature confirms that most dental crowns remain in place at 15 to 20 years.
At the office of Family Smiles Fort Lee, we strive to provide the highest quality of care to address all your dental needs. Once we’ve had the opportunity to examine your smile, we can give you a clear picture of any dental issues that are present, along with a quote for how much treatment will be. The cost of dental crowns can vary a little, depending on the type of crown and its location. Our goals are to provide the highest quality of care and help patients begin treatment without additional financial stress or delay. We’re always happy to answer all your questions on dental insurance coverage, available financing, and payment plans.
Coverage for all-ceramic crowns depends on your dental insurance plan. Today, many dental plans provide some level of coverage for all-ceramic crowns. At the office of Family Smiles Fort Lee, we work with patients to optimize their dental benefits and get the care they need to maintain healthy and beautiful smiles!