Porcelain crowns refer to a dental crown made that utilizes porcelain. There are two types of dental crowns that use porcelain material. These are porcelain or reinforced resin crowns and combination crowns that use a mixture of porcelain and either metal or gold.
Porcelain or reinforced resin dental crowns are generally used for the front teeth and are the most esthetically pleasing dental crown. Mirroring the color of natural teeth, this type of dental crown has the advantages of capturing and reflecting light like natural teeth, as well as having a natural appearance with a smooth surface. However, an ideal fit where the gum meets the crown is more difficult in porcelain crowns due to its thickness. More tooth structure has to be removed and it appears that gingival inflammation is more common in porcelain dental crowns compared to gold dental crowns. Although these types of crowns are more likely to chip than a metal crown, it is still extremely durable. It is also the recommended dental crown for patients with metal sensitivities.
Combination dental crowns that mix porcelain and metal also provide a natural looking appearance. However, since the porcelain is fused to metal crowns it does not have the advantage of being able to capture and reflect light like natural teeth or porcelain crowns have. The metal substructure of combination crowns mean an opaque is required below the porcelain. Therefore on occasion, a darker line will become visible at the edge of the crown near to the gum as the gum recedes with age. Despite this esthetic disadvantage, combination crowns are the strongest of the different varieties of dental crowns and are the most common. Combination dental crowns that utilize a mixture of porcelain and gold are more esthetically pleasing than combination crowns that use other base metals. However, it is not as strong as other combination crowns but is stronger than a reinforced resin dental crown.
Dental crowns are needed when teeth start to wear down, crack or break. This is due to a variety of factors such as teeth grinding, an improper bite, fillings, tooth decay and age. In these instances, a dental crown adds strength, stability, and durability to the affected tooth. Crowns cover the entire visible surface of the affected tooth and that is the reason why porcelain crowns are more popular than gold crowns. Gold crowns although stronger, a more precise fit to one's teeth, free of the possibility of chipping, and cheaper lack the esthetic benefits of dental crowns that use porcelain.
Porcelain crowns tend to require two to three appointments to create and the most important aspect of it is how accurate it fits the affected tooth. Additionally, porcelain crowns have an advantage over metal crowns based on the way that they are stuck to the tooth. Using a process of bonding as opposed to gluing, porcelain crowns require a minimum of removal of a layer of the tooth in the shaping process. This leads to less destruction of the tooth itself.