At Gold Coast Smiles, we strive to bring you the latest in cutting edge technology and procedures while maintaining a conservative approach to treatment. Among our many core principles is we strive to present patients with multiple solutions to address their dental needs. We feel this is the responsible way of conducting dentistry.
With advancements in adhesion protocols and porcelain systems we can now offer a variety of more conservative options like inlays and onlays. In certain instances such as replacing an existing crown or if there is a lot of decay or damage to the tooth, these more conservative approaches may not be viable options. In these instances the best option might be a full coverage porcelain crown.
Why Metal Isn’t the Right Option Anymore
In the past, the systems for producing high quality porcelain restorations were weaker, so the vast majority of crowns and bridges were made out of metal with porcelain fused to the metal base. The metal base was utilized to create more strength, especially in the back teeth, where they needed to withstand the stronger pressure and chewing forces present with molar teeth.
These porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns certainly served their purpose and saved many a tooth, but they tended to look opaque and lifeless. And they almost always developed a tell-tale dark line as the gums pulled back from the metal base over time. Advances in ceramic materials and bonding techniques have made all-porcelain crowns available, meaning that you can now have restorations that have the same translucent beauty of real teeth with long lasting strength and durability.
With modern-day ceramic systems and adhesion protocols, metal is no longer required to create durable crowns. In fact, at Gold Coast Smiles, we do not utilize metal at all in any of our full coverage crown restorations for three big reasons:
- It is impossible to accurately replicate the natural appearance of the tooth with metal present underneath porcelain. When porcelain crowns are fused to a metal base, the naturally transparent properties of the porcelain means that they have to be thick and opaque enough to cover the dark underlying metal. This results in a complete change in the way the light reflects and refracts from the porcelain, creating that dull lifeless appearance typically associated with metal based crowns and not an accurate representation of your teeth.
- One unfortunate drawback of PFM crowns is the metal understructure visible from certain angles, especially at the gumline. This should be concealed by the gums, but if you experience receding gums after crowns have been placed, the metal margin becomes visible. The crown may look good initially, but as the gum recedes throughout the years it exposes the thinner section of the porcelain, and the dark lines appears. This is the dark black like we see around teeth that many patients complain about.
- With the exception of titanium used in implant dentistry, the human body typically does not like to have metal within sensitive gum tissue. In some individuals, we see the surrounding gumline on metal crowns get inflamed and red over time. While this could be related to the increased risk of periodontal (“gum”) disease with age, another possible cause could be the metal itself. While metal allergies are uncommon, they are not rare. And allergies to some metals are very common. There are many metals that people commonly have allergic responses to that are also used in dental restorations. Nickel is the most common metal allergy. Although the usage of these metals have become rare in the field of dentistry, some dentists will choose to use these cheaper non-previous metals in an effort to cut back on costs. These non previous metals can eventually leach out over time and permanently discolor the gums. Worse yet, a small portion of the population may develop an allergy to these metals over time, and the gums become inflamed and reddish or even blue in appearance around the edges of the crown.
Advances in Porcelain Crowns: No More Metal!
Dr. Andrew Sami has been offering his patients stunning lifelike metal-free porcelain crown restorations such as Emax & Zirconia crowns that are popular and proven with cosmetic dentists. At Gold Coast Smiles, our dental crowns are designed using efficient pressed ceramic technology. They represent the ultimate in metal-free esthetics and durability. Unlike traditional dental crowns, there are no metal substrates. This means that Emax crowns are more natural in appearance and do not have the telltale “black line” of the crown’s metal substructure at the gumline like traditional crowns do. In effect, the patient benefits from the best of both worlds–the beauty of all-ceramic dental crowns without compromising strength or durability.
Cerec Same Day Crowns
In the past, it was always necessary to have your tooth prepared for a crown and wear a temporary crown while your porcelain crown was being created. Then you would return for a second appointment where the dentist would remove the temporary crown and fit you with the permanent one.
Dr. Sami has invested in CEREC technology to eliminate the need for a second appointment. Often referred to as same-day crowns, they are created by a computer-guided machine right in the office. So now you can walk out with your beautiful new restoration after just one visit. You can learn more by reading our CEREC crowns page.
Dr. Sami also offers zirconia bridges, which are made of a material called ceramic steel: learn more by reading our Zirconia Bridges page.
If you’d like to find out how porcelain crowns could improve the beauty and function of your smile, call our office or fill out our online request an appointment form, and we’ll be happy to call you.
All before/after photos pictured here are actual cases of Dr. Sami’s.
Porcelain Crowns FAQ
What do porcelain crowns do?
Whenever teeth are badly damaged, cracked, broken, or misshapen, crowns are the most effective solution. Porcelain Crowns restore the shape, strength, functionality, and appearance of a damaged tooth. At Gold Coast Smiles, Dr. Sami creates custom porcelain crowns that protect the vulnerable part of the tooth by physically holding it together and shielding it from damage while giving it a natural tooth appearance that blends in with the rest of your mouth. After you have one placed, you’ll be able to use your tooth to chew again without risking any further damage to the tooth underneath it.
When are porcelain crowns indicated?
We typically consider Porcelain Crowns as the treatment of choice when the structural integrity of the tooth becomes compromised. Porcelain Crowns protect weak teeth, restore broken or severely worn down teeth, prevent cracked teeth from breaking further, restore a tooth after a root canal and support teeth that have large fillings. Variants of crowns are also used to hold dental bridges in place. In each case, the crown supports or replaces a structure that no longer works on its own.
What are E.max porcelain crowns?
E.max porcelain crowns are a highly esthetic crown widely used in cosmetic dentistry. Due to their inherit superior strength, E.max porcelain crowns can be made thinner than other porcelain crowns without sacrificing any strength and durability. This allows E.max crowns to have more natural translucency and beauty, allowing us to mimic the appearance of natural teeth more accurately. This type of porcelain is considered a very high grade material which has been harvested for its toughness, durability and translucent qualities which make for a highly prized crown.
How long do porcelain crowns last?
The average lifespan a porcelain crown varies widely between each individual. Dr. Sami designs porcelain crowns to last many years but the longevity of every dental restoration, including porcelain crowns, depends on a number of factors including personal lifestyle and mouth-related habits, the oral hygiene practices you follow, how well you keep up with your dental maintenance and the amount of wear and tear each person introduces on the crown. Taking all this into consideration, porcelain crowns, on average can last anywhere between 5 and 15 years depending on each individual’s circumstances. Our philosophy at Gold Coast Smiles, however, is we do not “average” crowns. It is actually very commonplace for our crowns to last decades if well maintained. In many cases we’ve seen crowns as old as 20 if not close to 30 years in some of our patients.
When do porcelain crowns need to be replaced?
There can be many reasons why we may recommend a porcelain crown, or any existing crown regardless of material, to be replaced. Some of the most common reasons include: if the tooth develops decay underneath the crown, the presence of extensive gum recession developing around the crown exposing the root of the tooth, damage to the crown itself such as shearing of porcelain or the entire fracture of the crown, a compromise in the actual fit of a crown that makes the tooth vulnerable to further issues or if the crown has simply become less aesthetically pleasing in appearance over the course of time.
Why am I told I need a crown following my root canal procedure?
While there is no question that root canals can save teeth that may be otherwise lost to infection or decay, the procedure itself actually compromises the structural integrity of the tooth to some extent. Dr. Sami always recommends placement of porcelain crowns on all back teeth following successful root canal procedures for two very important reasons:
1. To further strengthen the tooth in an effort to avoid fracture or extensive breakage that can result in extraction and loss of the tooth later.
2. To avoid recontamination, also known as “coronal leakage,” into the tooth so the tooth is properly sealed off from harmful leakage, including microbes, that can leach into the pulp (nerve) and result in a failed root canal that possibly may need to be re-done if not extracted later.
Placing crowns on teeth following successful root canal therapy goes a long way in protecting not just your tooth but the investment you made into saving the tooth with a root canal.
What is the difference between a porcelain crown and porcelain veneer?
Porcelain crowns and Porcelain Veneers are two different restorative procedures we utilize to help improve our patient’s smile. Although both treatments will improve the appearance of your smile, they come with some important differences. The key differences between both procedures is how much of the original tooth is removed and how much of the tooth will be covered by porcelain. While a crown covers the entire tooth, a veneer is a much thinner material that is bonded only onto the front of the tooth. Both are effective solutions but before deciding which is best, both procedures should be properly discussed between you and an experienced cosmetic dentist such as Dr. Andrew Sami who can help guide you in the decision making process. To learn more about Porcelain Veneers, their many benefits and how we utilize them to improve our patients smiles, visit our porcelain veneer page or contact our office to schedule a consultation.
What is the black line I see around my crowns and how can we fix it?
The darkening around the gumline of your crown likely indicates that there is metal underneath the white porcelain of your crown. Chances are the black or dark line was not there when your crown was first placed onto your tooth. Over time, as changes occur to your gum either directly from the metal or other independent factors, the gum recedes and eventually lifts up exposing the metal band as a dark line around the gumline.
At Gold Coast Smiles, Dr. Andrew Sami can provide you with metal free options, like porcelain crowns, that can correct and replace these unsightly older crowns and get rid of that unattractive dark line.