At Weisbard Dental of Greenwood Village, our crowns come in different materials, from semi-precious or non-precious metals, porcelain, zirconia, gold and cerac.
A crown or cap is indicated when there is sufficient damage, decay or trauma to a tooth’s integrity. When more than 60% of a tooth is damaged, has a large broken down filling in it or an entire cusp is missing (broken or decayed) the tooth loses its structural support. The tooth then has a high likelihood of cracking. A crown can literally hold the tooth together by surrounding the tooth and providing support. A crown can be made of various materials – porcelain, metal, or a combination of the two. There are tooth colored materials being used called Zirconia or E-Max that are as strong as metal but have the aesthetics of porcelain. These crowns are metal-free.
Frequently Asked Questions
A metal crown can be precious, non-precious or semi-precious. The higher gold content the better. Gold, platinum and palladium are much more biocompatible (healthier) than semi-precious or non-precious metals, which can contain nickel, copper or other scrap metals. Dr. Weisbard uses a high content of gold and precious metals only for her metal crowns. These crowns provide excellent marginal integrity, strength, and can last a very long time.
A porcelain crown is entirely porcelain. These crowns provide the best aesthetics, translucency and natural appearance. They best resemble the natural tooth structure but lack strength. These crowns are best when used in the front of the mouth where aesthetics are most important and chewing forces are lower.
Porcelain to Gold Crowns
A porcelain to gold crown is an excellent choice for the majority of back teeth as it provides the aesthetics of porcelain with the support and strength of metal. These crown are made with a metal (precious metals) core with porcelain baked over it.
Zirconia crowns have a high strength non-metal core with porcelain baked over it. These are an excellent choice for strength and aesthetics. These crowns are known for their strength and durability. They are metal-free and biocompatible. Dr. Weisbard chooses these crowns for most back teeth.
E-Max crowns are all-ceramic with excellent aesthetics, strength and durability. This crown has the best natural translucency and is often used for front teeth as well as back teeth.
The Cerac system can design and mill a custom crown in a single visit to your dentist. The dentist prepares the tooth in the normal way before fitting a crown. Instead of taking an impression, sending it to a laboratory to custom make the crown, the dentist takes a digital image of the prepared tooth. This information is converted into a three dimensional computerized model of your tooth, which is used as a guide for the computer to design the new crown. The information then goes to a milling machine that fabricates the new crown from a ceramic block.
The drawbacks are that since the crown is made from a ceramic block it lacks the translucency of natural teeth and variation of color. It tends to be very opaque and monotone. Some dentists will stain these crowns and reglaze them; however, the surface staining can wear over time with normal brushing and chewing. There is also some question of the marginal adaptation (fit) to the tooth.
Dr. Weisbard feels that her laboratory can produce a more natural, translucent crown with better margins (fit to tooth) using traditional, very exact impressions. These high quality crowns last longer, are more durable, fit better and look more natural than the Cerac crowns. Dr. Weisbard chooses not to offer Cerac restorations at this time.
What type of crown is best for back molars?
Porcelain fused to Zirconia or E-Max crowns provide the best strength and aesthetics and are the crowns of choice for back teeth. Yet porcelain fused to gold or all gold crowns provides the strength and durability needed for heavy chewing. Gold is also the better choice for patients who may grind their teeth.