Porcelain Crowns Questions
Northern Virginia including Tysons Corner, Fairfax, Reston, Alexandria, Arlington, Washington D.C. and surrounding areas
Are porcelain crowns better than gold crowns?
In one way, yes. Gold crowns are strong and durable and are still often used for back teeth, where chewing force is strongest. But they look so unlike natural teeth that more and more people are deciding to have porcelain crowns instead. Porcelain crowns are also very strong and durable and because dental porcelain so closely resembles tooth enamel, they can be placed on any tooth and be undetectable as crowns. They offer all the same advantages as crowns made of any other material – they preserve the tooth and prolong its life, they structurally blend in with your other teeth to keep your bite smooth, and they last for a long time, perhaps a lifetime.
What is dental porcelain?
It is a type of porcelain formulated to be safe and strong in the mouth. It comes in a wide variety of shades of white and the best porcelain has subtle variations of color like tooth enamel. It is partially translucent like tooth enamel. In other words, it allows some of the light to pass through it, and that light then reflects back from the dental cement beneath the porcelain restoration. This makes it look like natural teeth, since enamel also allows some light to pass through it and reflect back off the dentin layer below the enamel.
Alone, porcelain is breakable, but when it’s bonded to a tooth, it becomes very strong and durable.
What are all-porcelain crowns?
Family Dentist Dr. Chung offers all-porcelain crowns, meaning that they have no metal lining. Instead they have a lining of a slightly different porcelain than is used on the outside surface. A lining gives strength to the crowns. Some porcelain crowns have a metal lining and are known as porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns. That metal lining also adds strength, but the disadvantage is that over time, as the body ages and gums gradually recede, the lining starts to show. So one can see a thin, dark streak at the gumline. This is not unsafe, but it does look unappealing.
When is a crown used?
It’s used when a tooth is too decayed to survive with just a filling. When bacteria are not removed daily by brushing and flossing, they multiply, spreading into every cozy little corner they can find, and excreting acidic wastes. The acid eats into tooth enamel, causing cavities. When a tooth becomes so decayed that not enough of it is left to hold a filling, a crown is used. The crown fits tightly over the tooth stub, gives it a new surface, and protects it from further decay.
The same situation can arise if there is an accident or trauma which damages or breaks the tooth. Sometimes, a porcelain onlay can strengthen and preserve the tooth. Onlays (and inlays) are bonded to the tooth, pulling inward on the periphery to hold it together. But in some cases not even an onlay can do the job, so a crown must be done. And if decay has spread even into the tooth’s interior, the space that contains nerves and blood vessels, then endodontic work must be done -- a root canal, to preserve the tooth’s root. When a tooth needs a root canal procedure, it always needs a crown as well.
How are crowns done?
They require two visits.
- In the first visit, Dr. Chung clears away all decay and debris and prepares the tooth stub for the crown. He then places a temporary crown for a week or two while his dental laboratory makes your crown.
- In the second visit, he places the crown temporarily, and makes sure that it is seated properly to fit in well with your bite. When you and he are satisfied with the comfort and alignment, he cements it in place permanently.
How should I care for my porcelain crown?
Give it the same daily care you give your natural teeth. Brush and floss daily to keep the bacteria under control and prevent them from spreading up underneath the crown. With good dental hygiene, your porcelain crown will last a great many years and even a lifetime.
To learn more about porcelain crowns, please call or email our family dentistry to arrange a porcelain crown consultation. We feel confident that you will enjoy our comfortable and friendly facilities, and be pleased with your dental results.
At Softouch Dental Care we serve Oakton, Vienna, McLean, Great Falls, Tyson’s Corner, Reston, Alexandria, Arlington, Herndon, Fairfax, Falls Church, Chantilly, Centreville, Alexandria, Arlington, Washington D.C. and the Northern Virginia area.