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What Is a Natural Looking Dental Crown Made Of?
One option available for patients who need crowns placed on their teeth is a natural-looking dental crown. Many patients wish to avoid having their crowns stand out, especially if the affected tooth is located in the front of the mouth. Find out what materials can be used to achieve a more natural-looking result, including the possible advantages and disadvantages of each type.
Types of natural-looking dental crowns
While metal or stainless steel crowns may be used on back molars or on damaged primary teeth, many people prefer porcelain crowns that mimic the appearance of natural teeth. Porcelain can be designed to have a translucent appearance, just like dental enamel. Patients can opt for all-resin, porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns or all-ceramic crowns.
All-resin crowns are not made from porcelain and are significantly cheaper than other options while still being made to look like natural teeth. However, these crowns are often very weak and only last a few years before needing to be replaced. Metal-ceramic crowns consist of a metal base that is bonded to the tooth or implant with porcelain placed on top. All-ceramic crowns contain no metal and are made entirely of porcelain. There are several types of porcelain teeth that vary in durability and appearance to consider.
Advantages and disadvantages
There are several pros and cons to consider for each type of crown. Porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns are very strong and durable due to the metal base while still offering a realistic appearance. However, some metals may show through the ceramic outer layer. For this reason, dentists will often use zirconia, since it can be matched to the shade of porcelain used and makes the porcelain less likely to break.
Full-ceramic crowns are often the most aesthetically pleasing, offering what many people consider the most natural look. Some people are also allergic or sensitive to metal and need a dental crown free of any metals. However, porcelain is rather brittle and is prone to breaking, and it can cause damage to the opposite teeth since it is a harder material than enamel. This can be an issue if the patient grinds teeth.
Before crowns are made and placed on the teeth, dentists will take pictures and impressions of the patient’s mouth. This information will be sent to a lab where the crowns are color-matched to the patient’s teeth and shaped to mimic the size and figure of the surrounding natural teeth. Often, this process takes up to two weeks and the patient will need to wear a temporary crown in the meantime.
While not all crowns are designed the same, there are several different options patients can choose from for a more natural look. Patients who are most concerned about appearance may enjoy full-ceramic crowns. However, metal-ceramic crowns may be used in situations where more durability and strength are needed. For patients wanting the most inexpensive dental crown, all-resin crowns can provide a natural look but will likely wear down over the course of a couple of years.
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