If one of your teeth has sustained too much decay for a filling, your dentist may recommend a dental crown. If you want an aesthetic restoration, you may think that porcelain is your only option. While porcelain can be a great option, there are a few other types of dental materials to consider. Read on to weigh the pros and cons of porcelain and other aesthetic dental materials.
Porcelain is a popular choice for patients because the crown shades can be matched closely to your natural teeth. The material is durable and can last many years with good care. It is also resistant to stains and discoloration unlike composite fillings or metal crowns. The main downside of porcelain is that it can be one of the more expensive dental materials.
Zirconia dioxide crowns are made of powdery white metal oxide. One great benefit of zirconia is its strength—it's a lot stronger than porcelain. There is a lot of flexibility with the aesthetics of zirconia. For instance, you could opt for a solid shade color which might be more affordable and durable, or you could opt for high-translucency zirconia which may have more shade variations. Zirconia crowns are milled with computer-aided design (CAD) and computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) technology, so they tend to fit better than pressed crowns.
One downside of zirconia is that because the crowns are so strong, they can wear down the underlying tooth structure if you are prone to secondary/recurring decay. Zirconia can be expensive, but because they are strong, the cost may be worth it since they won't chip as easily.
Porcelain Fused to Metal
As you might guess, Porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns (PFMs) have an underlying base of metal with an outer shell of porcelain. The greatest benefit of PFM crowns is their cost. You can get the aesthetics of porcelain but since most of the crown is made of metal, it reduces the cost. You also have flexibility in which type of metal you get for the PFM. For example, if you have a nickel allergy, you could get PFM with a base of gold or titanium. The main downside of PFMs is that the metal framework can sometimes be seen at the base of the tooth—especially if you have gum recession.
Lithium disilicate is a ceramic which has a high translucency. These crowns are arguably the most natural-looking restorations because of their high translucency; a lot of veneers are actually made from lithium disilicate. These crowns are great for anterior teeth. Lithium disilicate crowns are usually more affordable than zirconia ones but they still might be pricey. The biggest downside of lithium disilicate is its durability. Because the material is very thin, it can break more easily. Thus, it's not recommended if you grind your teeth at night.
For more information on dental crowns, contact a dentist in your area today.