Seeing the dentist is a part of life. From filling cavities to orthodontic work, there are many reasons to visit the dentist. One other common dental procedure involves placing dental implants.Dental implants are free-standing replacement teeth. They mimic the entire structure of a natural tooth. The process involves placing the implant, titanium screw/threaded post, into…
Implant Crowns: A Natural Looking Restoration
There are several reasons a person may want or need implant crowns, including accidents that cause damage to teeth, severe tooth decay, orthodontic problems or simply seeking to improve their appearance. While gold and metal crowns do exist, many people opt for porcelain crowns for a more natural-looking restoration. This option looks almost indistinguishable from real teeth and is frequently used for front teeth.
Pros and cons of natural-looking implant crowns
Patients have several considerations to make when choosing natural-looking implant crowns. The two main options are all-ceramic crowns and porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns. Here is a closer look at the pros and cons of both types.
For patients who desire the most natural look possible, all-ceramic crowns are translucent and resemble teeth the most. If maintained properly, these crowns can last up to 15 years. As the name suggests, this option is made entirely out of ceramic glass and does not include any metal; however, some versions are strengthened with zirconium. This biggest disadvantage of ceramic restorations is poor durability. Certain habits such as chewing ice, grinding teeth or biting nails can cause these crowns to break. The ceramic is also rough on surrounding teeth.
A porcelain-fused-to-metal crown uses a metal underlying structure with a porcelain fused to the outside. This type of prosthetic is more durable than just ceramic alone and often replaces back teeth that are used for biting with more force. While these crowns still look very similar to natural teeth, all-ceramic crowns are often still a better match. When used on the front teeth, the underlying metal is sometimes visible through the ceramic. For people with metal allergies, this type of crown can cause a reaction. Since a ceramic exterior is used, damage to other teeth can still occur.
How natural-looking implant crowns are made
Natural-looking implants are most often made in a dental lab and can take two weeks or more to make. To make crowns that look as much as the surrounding teeth as possible, the dentist will take several impressions of the patient’s teeth using a mold. Some offices may even use dental 3D printing to create a model of the crown.
The chosen material is then used to fill the mold and cured. The lab will color match the crown to the rest of the patient’s teeth and may even hand-finish it to give it a more realistic appearance. Once finished, crowns are stain and chemical resistance and cannot be whitened.
If implant crowns are needed as a dental restoration, porcelain can be used to make them look as natural as possible. From color matching to finishing the prosthetic by hand, there are many steps taken at a dental lab to make these attachments look indistinguishable from other teeth. Since there is more than one option available, patients should discuss with a dentist the pros and cons of all-ceramic crowns, porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns or metal crowns. Ultimately, the choice will depend on where the crown is being placed and the patient’s preferences.
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