Millions of Americans have lost teeth due to a number of reasons including tooth decay, gum disease and injury. Gum disease and tooth decay may advance to the point where teeth have to be extracted or fall out. An accident or injury may damage a tooth beyond repair or knock it out. If you are…
Improve Your Smile With a Natural Looking Crown
For many patients, a natural-looking crown has the potential to improve the smile by masking worn down, cracked, decayed, discolored or misshapen teeth. While the main purpose of dental crowns is typically to preserve and strengthen damaged teeth, these tooth caps can have the added benefit of improving the appearance of the mouth. Continue reading to learn about natural-looking crowns and how they are designed to look like actual teeth.
What materials are used to make natural-looking crowns?
Patients have the option of metal or stainless steel crowns to address teeth that have large cavities or visible signs of wear and tear, but these materials stand out in the mouth and can make patients self-conscious. While some patients might opt for metal on back molars that are hard to see, many people desire a solution that looks more similar to natural teeth when getting a crown on a front tooth. Patients have two main options to choose from for natural-looking crowns:
This type of dental crown uses both metal, often zirconia, and porcelain for a more natural-looking appearance. The metal used is very durable and bonds well with the teeth. Porcelain is placed over the metal to better match the surrounding teeth. However, the metal can sometimes show through the porcelain.
Ceramic crowns do not contain any metal and look the most like natural teeth, which are translucent. While this option is often the most attractive choice, it does not offer the same strength and durability as metal. There are several different kinds of porcelain that can be used to create these crowns. The exact material used affects the appearance, durability and bonding process used for the crown.
How to maintain the appearance of a natural-looking crown
To start off, the dentist will take pictures of the patient’s surrounding teeth and analyze the color to create a crown that matches. The new crown should also be similar in shape and size to the patient’s natural teeth. While the porcelain used is naturally chemical and stain-resistant, it is important that patients brush and floss crowns frequently to prevent unsightly cracks and to keep the underlying tooth and gums healthy.
Since these crowns are resistant to chemicals, whitening products cannot be used on the porcelain after being installed in the mouth. In fact, using these products will only brighten the surrounding teeth making the crowns dull and more noticeable. Patients should keep this in mind before receiving such treatments. If teeth are yellow or stained prior to the procedure, individuals may want to treat or whiten them before having crowns placed.
For patients who need or desire a dental crown to address damage and other issues, porcelain-fused-to-metal or all-ceramic crowns provide support and protection to the tooth without standing out. Which option patients should choose depends on the reason the tooth is being capped, the location of the affected tooth or teeth, allergies to certain metals and the patient’s personal budget and preference.
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