What Is So Special About All Ceramic Crowns, Bridges and Fillings?
If you need a restoration then these days there is a good chance that your dentist may suggest an all-ceramic restoration as an option. Like a crown, bridge or even just a large filling. This choice has been around for several years. It has become much more desirable during this time since the introduction of newer and better materials and technologies.
As a result, all ceramic restorations can provide some of the best aesthetics combined with excellent strength and durability. If you are looking to get the very best restorations you can, you may want to think about this option and especially if you need to restore any of your front teeth.
What Are the Alternatives to Having an All Ceramic Crown or Bridge?
Up until fairly recently, the most commonly used restoration had a metal alloy substructure that was covered up with porcelain. This type of restoration is still widely used and does give very good results. However, one of the problems is that the metal substructure must be covered up with a special type of opacious porcelain. It is designed to cover up the metal so it cannot be seen.
While effective, this porcelain is naturally quite dense in appearance. It is subsequently covered up with far more translucent and aesthetically pleasing porcelains. Even though this opaque porcelain is covered up, it can still shine through if there isn’t quite enough room for a sufficient thickness of the more translucent porcelain. This can make it difficult to achieve a truly perfect aesthetic effect.
Another problem with what is called porcelain fused to metal crowns and bridges is that the porcelain tends to be thinner the closer you get to your gums. Over time your gums may begin to recede and this can expose the very edge of the crown or bridge. When this happens it is quite common to see a darker or grayish colored line which is the very edge of the metal.
Why All Ceramic Restorations Produce the Very Best Results?
With an all-ceramic restoration, this cannot happen. This is because the crown, bridge or filling is entirely made from ceramic materials. The light passes through far more easily as it isn’t obstructed by any metal. This creates a more appealing appearance that is far closer to your natural teeth. This is why these types of restorations are ideal for restoring teeth in a way that is more cosmetically appealing.
You will not get a gray line and all porcelain restorations are highly biocompatible.
Are They Strong Enough?
The most modern porcelain materials are incredibly strong. If you had a relative or friend who had an older porcelain crown or bridge that subsequently failed, you do not need to worry this will happen to you. Quite often these all-ceramic restorations will have a substructure made from a ceramic material called zirconia. This is incredibly strong and will not fracture.
It is covered up with special porcelain that bonds extremely well to the substructure. Sometimes for back teeth, a crown or bridge will be made entirely from zirconia. It comes in lots of different shades and even different translucencies. This is so it can be closely matched to your natural teeth. The zirconia is stained, characterized and glazed to create a beautiful effect that will blend in seamlessly with your existing teeth.
There’s even a special type of zirconia restoration that is suitable for people who clench and grind their teeth. It is a common condition called bruxism and which because it usually occurs at night can often cause a lot of damage to teeth. With this type of restoration, you don’t need to worry your new ceramic crown or bridge will become damaged or will fracture due to the stresses of clenching and grinding.
Can I Have a Large All-Ceramic Bridge?
The short answer to this is yes. Modern porcelain materials are so strong that you don’t need to have a metal substructure, even for a bridge that replaces a complete arch of teeth. Instead, it will be made from zirconia, providing you with beautiful yet strong and durable teeth.
What about Porcelain Fillings?
While tooth-colored composite resin is fine for restoring smaller cavities in teeth, a larger cavity needs something stronger. It needs something that can provide more strength and structure to the tooth, and a porcelain filling is usually ideal. It can be a better choice than a gold filling which although beautiful is highly visible and may be a less than ideal solution for many people.
Another nice thing about porcelain fillings is that often your dentist can create them while you wait. They use advanced CADCAM technology to design and make them. With this technique, your tooth cavity will be prepared as normal. But instead of having an impression, it’s scanned using a tiny camera that will either take a series of photographs or video that is used to create 3-D images of the cavity.
Using special software, your dentist will utilize these images to custom design your filling. It is then milled by computer from a solid block of pre-shaded porcelain. This doesn’t take very long and once finished it can be hand characterized and glazed or polished so that it looks beautiful and natural. Then it’s simply a question of your dentist bonding it onto your tooth and you will be ready to go with no need for a second appointment.
This same technique can often be used to make all ceramic crowns while you wait.
Advanced Technology That Provides a Precision Fit
When having a porcelain restoration that has been made using advanced CADCAM technology, you are assured of receiving a precision fitting crown, bridge or filling. It will fit accurately over or into your tooth. This precise fit will prevent bacteria in the mouth from getting underneath the crown or filling where they could otherwise cause decay and infection. Instead, your tooth will have a high level of protection, all while looking wonderful.
So, next time you are at your dental office if they happen to mention that you need a new crown, bridge or filling then be sure to ask about all ceramic options. Ask them whether they think this will be the ideal choice for you.