7 Questions You Never Thought to Ask About Porcelain Dental Crowns

Restore your smile with durable and lifelike porcelain dental crowns. 

Porcelain dental crowns are an excellent option for restoring damaged or decayed teeth. They can provide lasting protection and excellent strength and longevity. However, many patients are unsure about dental crowns. 

Take a look at these answers to common questions about porcelain dental crowns.

1. What is a porcelain or ceramic crown actually made of?

Porcelain is a specific type of ceramic material. Ceramics are made from a wide variety of inorganic, non-metallic materials and range from elaborate ornaments to building materials, like bricks. Porcelain is a great choice for dental crowns because it is stronger than many other ceramics and features a distinct translucent finish, just like your natural teeth.

The porcelain used in dental crowns is predominantly made up of minerals, including feldspar, quartz, and kaolin. High-temperature firing creates strong crystal structures for durable dental crowns. Other ceramic crowns are used as well, such as zirconia crowns, which are also strong and durable, although they appear slightly less lifelike when compared with porcelain.

2. Will it break like a porcelain or fine china dish?

Porcelain dental crowns are known for their strength and durability. While crowns can chip or break due to physical accidents or ongoing teeth grinding, they stand up to everyday tasks, like chewing, for years. They are stronger than porcelain or fine china dishes and will not simply crack or shatter like a dropped plate.

Traditional fine china is very different to the material used for porcelain dental crowns. Traditional china is made using a high percentage of ash from burnt animal bones, along with various types of clay. The firing process is also different, which has a profound impact on its physical properties.

3. How does the dentist know that I need a dental crown?

Your dentist will recommend porcelain dental crowns for a variety of different situations. For example, if you have an infected or abscessed tooth, you will need a root canal treatment to save the tooth. Dental crowns are often needed after a root canal treatment to restore the health and strength of the chewing surface of the tooth.

Serious decay or physical damage can also call for a dental crown. If a cavity is too large for a filling, then a crown is likely the best option. The same is true for cracks or chips that composite bonding can’t fix.

4. What’s the difference between a crown and a veneer?

Both dental crowns and porcelain veneers can restore the appearance of a tooth. The primary difference is that a dental crown sits over and around the entire tooth, while a porcelain veneer is only a thin layer attached to the front face of the tooth.

To place a dental crown, your dentist removes some enamel to turn the natural tooth into a base for the crown. A dental veneer involves removing a thin layer of enamel from the front of the tooth to accommodate the veneer. Dental crowns are often focused more on protection, while veneers affect the appearance of your smile.

5. Do porcelain crowns work just as well on front teeth as they do on molars?

Yes. In fact, porcelain crowns are recommended for front teeth, more so than molars. There are many different materials available for dental crowns. Some, like zirconia, offer just as much strength as porcelain but don’t look as natural. These alternatives are generally only used for teeth that are further back and won’t be seen often.

If you need a crown for your front teeth, porcelain is the best choice. The unique translucence provides the most natural-looking smile possible.

6. How long do porcelain crowns last?

How long your porcelain dental crowns last will depend on a variety of factors. Your oral care routine, the presence of issues such as teeth grinding, and your diet can all affect how long they last.

In general, crowns can last 15 years or more, barring physical accidents or complications. In most cases, a new crown can be placed on the same natural tooth when a replacement is needed.

7. Does every dental crown require a plaster mold to be made first?

No, a variety of new materials have made physical impressions a thing of the past for most treatments. With 3D imaging technology, a highly detailed and accurate scan of your teeth captured with our intraoral camera and scanner provides the information needed to make your custom crown.

Not only does this technology allow you to avoid unpleasant physical impressions, but it also speeds up your treatment. Physical impressions have to be shipped to a dental lab to create your crown, but digital impressions are sent and received instantly.

Find out whether a porcelain dental crown is right for you.

If you have a severely damaged or decayed tooth, a porcelain dental crown may be the right choice to protect your tooth and avoid extraction. My Chico Dentist is your caring cosmetic dentist near Chico, CA, for porcelain crowns and other treatment options using state-of-the-art equipment. Schedule a consultation today to find the right treatment plan for your needs.

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