What is a dental crown?
A dental crown is a custom-made crown (a hollow, cap-like structure) that is placed over the natural tooth. This completely covers the visible portion of the underlying tooth. Crowns normally replace missing teeth that have been lost due to decay or disease but may also be used to correct and align the shape of the front teeth.
Zirconia crowns are made of Zirconia which is a crystal that extremely durable and practically indestructible.
Porcelain fused to metal crowns are made of porcelain fired onto a metal base. They are abbreviated to PFM crown or VMK (vita metal Keramik). VMK is the process whereby the ceramic is fired onto the metal base. PFM are used to protect the tooth from further decay.
Zirconia vs. porcelain fused to metal crown
Materials they are made of
Zirconia crowns can be zirconia solid, zirconia layered or zirconia HT (high translucent). In the case of porcelain fused to metal crowns, three different metal alloys are used; high noble metal, semi-precious and non-precious. The non-precious metals can also be called a base metal (because their noble metal content is less than 25%).
Zirconia Solid is the strongest material available and its strength is incomparable. This makes it suitable for patients with grinding problems. Their strength is also the reason behind their use for posterior crowns and bridges. Zirconia HT –although less durable than Zirconia Solid –is stronger than the PFM crown which too is strong enough for any area in the mouth.
PFM crowns can last for up to 30 years if the patient maintains good hygiene.
Zirconia has high biocompatibility and thus does not cause allergies in cases where the patient is allergic to PFM crowns, so zirconia can be used instead.
Similarly, in patients who experience soft tissue irritation with PFM crowns, zirconia can be used because they do not result in such reactions.
Unlike traditional restorations, zirconia does not transmit temperature fluctuations and thus does not disturb the natural teeth. They offer greater comfort than most other restorations. The porcelain fused to metal crowns also exhibits similar ease of use. The majority of the patients do not even feel that they are wearing a crown.
In the case of PFM crowns, no special care is required. Only the regular brushing and flossing that natural teeth need should be enough. On the other hand, the zirconia crown is particularly effective in reducing the likelihood of plaque and tartar accumulations because its smooth surface is slick enough to deter both.
More interesting facts about zirconia and porcelain fused to metal crowns
- Next to all-ceramic crowns, the PFM crowns resemble the natural teeth most. They do differ in the sense that they are almost non-transparent but appear very similar to natural teeth because they imitate the way that light passes through and is reflected in the natural crown. It may just lack the natural lustrous look because the opaque porcelain coating needed to hide the color of the metal only leaves little room for a layer of translucent porcelain.
- The strength of the zirconia crown might have a drawback. Their abrasive surface might damage the neighboring teeth.
- PFM crowns can be color customized easily which means that you can get the perfect color-match to your teeth so that the crown restoration is barely noticeable.
- Zirconia crowns have very little, if any, risk of hypersensitivity because they are resistant to hot and cold.
- Porcelain is resistant to stains and discoloration but the problem is that over time the gum tissue recedes and the metal margin is exposed. This creates a grayish line that does not look very aesthetically pleasing!
Dental crowns are becoming more and more common as people become more particular about their dental appearance. Porcelain fused with metal crowns and zirconia is both types of crowns that are suitable for the purpose.
Why do I need a dental crown?
Normally a dental crown has more than one reason to have. There can be different problems associated with the need for a dental crown. Some of the basic reasons include for strengthening a fractured or weak tooth, replacing a tooth after the root canal surgery, attachment of an implant, replacement of a larger filling, and various cosmetic purposes.
However, the need for a dental crown also depends upon the nature of the problem you’re facing. Some of the listed problems would need immediate treatment. However, having a dental crown prevents you from any further dental issues. People also go for braces with crowns on teeth.
Can I get my dental crown repaired?
If you are using a dental crown for a time and it has got damaged, then there are chances for you to get that repaired but the repair of the crown depends upon the nature of damage being caused to the crown. If the damage is of a severe nature, it’s hard to get it repaired. However, normally it’s better to replace the crown rather than repairing it for the sake of quality.
Another thing to remember is if the chip isn’t large, the crown can easily be repaired by filling it with any composite material. A little reshaping can sometimes help rather than replacing the dental crown.
How can I take care of my temporary dental crown?
A temporary dental crown is only used when the permanent crown is being prepared for you.
Normally you need to follow a set of instructions and precautions while using a temporary crown as recommended by your dentist.
Some of the precautions you need to follow include:
- Avoid chewy and sticky wood that may be stuck to your teeth and may pull off or grab down the temporary crown.
- Avoid using the mouth’s side that has a temporary crown in it. Chew more with the other side of your mouth.
- Don’t chew foods like raw vegetables as they can be hard for your dental crown and may break it.
- Slide floss the material rather than just lifting it out while you are cleaning your teeth.
Does a dental crown hurt?
However the dental crown doesn’t itself hurt but when your dentist is going to place it over your existing implant or teeth, the process includes some modifications to your teeth which may be painful. The modification process may cause some achiness after the process has been done.
Most of the people also face pain when the temporary crown is being removed and the permanent one is being placed. During this process, the air may hit exposed nerves and it causes sudden pain. The pain, however, doesn’t prolong and lasts for only a minute. However, there are over-the-counter medicines used for treating swelling and pain in these procedures.
Are dental crowns and caps the same thing?
Yes, a dental cap and dental crowns are the same things. However dental crown is a more technical term used for a dental cap. The procedure is the same but two different terms are used for the procedure. A dental cap is a more informal term.