Porcelain crowns and bridges are the work horses in dentistry, carrying most of the load of a rehabilitated smile. Together, they have been effective in helping people save their natural teeth when they are in danger of being lost, and replacing the function and esthetics of teeth once they are lost. It is not uncommon for crowns and bridges to last 20-30 years, though it is likely color changes and chips and cracks may occur much sooner. Porcelain crowns that are made well, and protected well can restore a smile 100%.
The biggest advancement of crowns and bridges over the past decade has been in the materials being used. Durable ceramics and other compounds have given a rise to the acceptance and growing use of monolithic zirconium crowns and bridges. Zirconia and similar materials are much harder than natural teeth and withstand heavy biting and grinding. The material is not indestructible, but it is about as close as you get in dentistry.
Both porcelain and zirconium crowns and bridges have appropriate applications, based on desired function, esthetics and anatomy of each person. Often, people are unable to afford the higher cost of zirconium crowns and settle for a variety of porcelain crowns. The three main flavors of porcelain crowns are pure porcelain, porcelain on a noble metal, and porcelain on a high-noble metal.
The biggest difference between a noble and high noble metal is the content of precious metals(s) that are used in the composition. There are differences in strength and durability, but the differences are marginal from the perspective of an average person. There are also esthetic differences which are more notable to the common man/woman.
Most differences center around brittleness and translucency, but in the mouth and in the eye of the beholder preferences vary from person to person. Lighting can have a big effect on whether crowns and bridges match the natural teeth they cover and abut, and the other teeth in the mouth. It can be challenging for average Dentists to match colors and shapes to deliver a beautiful smile, so those Patients who are more discriminating should seek a Dentist with a passion for excellence, a Prosthodontist, or a Cosmetic Dentist – depending upon their esthetic needs.
Dentist with a passion for excellence, a Prosthodontist, or a Cosmetic Dentist – depending upon their esthetic needs. Crowns and bridges are often used in conjunction with other rehabilitative and cosmetic dental solutions like dental implants and veneers to achieve a full mouth restoration. Sometimes composite fillings, onlays and inlays are also used to correct the occlusion, or bite and help make complete an oral rehabilitation.