What Porcelain Crowns Can Do for You

A dental crown is like a helmet that completely covers the visible portion of your tooth. The goal is to restore the strength of your tooth and protect it from future damage. In the past, you had to choose between appearance and strength, however, modern dental crowns made with porcelain now can be both attractive and strong. This makes them useful for a much wider range of cosmetic and restorative dental applications, including:

  • Fractured and worn teeth
  • Replacing a large filling that has recurrent decay
  • Infected teeth treated with root canal therapy
  • Teeth straightening, also known as instant orthodontics
  • Small or misshapen teeth
  • Restoring a dental implant

When a tooth has a fracture, it needs to be protected against further cracking and damage. A porcelain crown can do that in most cases. For substantial cracks or fractures, it may be necessary to have root canal therapy completed (removing the pulp, or nerve, from the tooth) to eliminate the risk of infection. Teeth that have worn down as a result of TMJ or other bite problems may need to be protected and rebuilt to support your bite.

Fillings are adequate to treat smaller cavities, however, when a filling gets to a certain size, it can begin to jeopardize the tooth. Fillings – especially metal amalgam fillings – often don’t add strength to a tooth, in fact, they can significantly weaken the tooth, and lead to fracturing. This can cause decay to form around the edges of the filling, this is known as recurrent or secondary decay.

When the pulp of a tooth is removed as part of root canal therapy, the tooth has to be protected, and a porcelain crown can be used for this.

Instant orthodontics is an alternative to braces or Invisalign for teeth straightening. Instead of moving your teeth, we reshape them. This is normally done with porcelain veneers, but sometimes porcelain dental crowns are used when your reshaped teeth need more strength and support. The same is true for small or poorly shaped teeth, like retained baby teeth or peg laterals. They can be built up with veneers, but sometimes they need a more comprehensive restoration like a dental crown.

Dental implants are only an artificial root. In order to achieve a complete tooth replacement you will need a dental crown or bridge.

How Can A Dental Bridge Fix Your Smile?

This is a permanent solution to replacing a missing tooth. Teeth on either side of the missing tooth are reshaped to allow for a “crown” on each of them with a solid replacement tooth in the middle. These are permanently bonded in and have been used in dentistry for over 50 years.

The advantages are that they fill in the missing space and stay in your mouth while eating. The disadvantages are that they involve the adjacent teeth to your missing tooth and now you are asking the two adjacent teeth to support the daily chewing forces that are normally shared between three. Also, since the bridge is not removable, it requires extra daily care and maintenance to prevent you from getting new cavities.

A young woman leans against a wall, showing off her amazing smile thanks to Dr. Skinner

Combining Beauty and Strength

Modern porcelain dental crowns are technological marvels. In the past, porcelain crowns were made of basically the same thing as dinner plates. They could be attractive, but they were relatively fragile, so they could only be used in some situations, and metal crowns had to be used anywhere your tooth was exposed to stress.

Then we developed porcelain fused to metal crowns, or PFM’s, which were supposed to combine the strength of metal with the attractiveness of porcelain. But it often turned out to be the opposite: the fragility of porcelain caused it to flake off, revealing the unattractive metal underneath.

However, with the development of advanced ceramics, modern dental crowns can be as strong as titanium, up to 20 times stronger than your tooth enamel! And porcelain crowns can be made as attractive as ever, with translucency to rival natural tooth enamel and naturalistic design. No one needs to know that it’s not your natural tooth!

Are you considering getting a porcelain crown in Anchorage? Please call (907) 349-0022 or contact us today for an appointment at Excellence in Dentistry.