Dental crowns are very common and versatile restorations. They can be used for reconstructive dentistry to preserve and restore damaged teeth. They can also be used for cosmetic dentistry to give teeth more attractive proportions or to give them a more attractive color if discoloration comes from within the tooth and doesn’t respond to teeth whitening.
But in the past, dental crowns had to be made for just one purpose or the other. Crowns used for reconstructive dentistry could be strong, but not attractive. Crowns used for cosmetic dentistry were attractive, but lacked strength.
And, to top it all off, many of the materials used could cause unhealthy reactions in the body. But modern dental materials can be strong, beautiful, and biocompatible.
Traditional Dental Materials
Early dental materials were limited. We didn’t have many choices when it came to what crowns could be made of. They had to be made either of metal or of primitive ceramics.
Metal crowns are strong enough to withstand biting forces, so these were used wherever crowns had to stand up to strong forces, especially in the back of the mouth. Unfortunately, these crowns didn’t look natural or attractive, and they stood out even when placed on back molars.
The other alternative was ceramics, mostly porcelain. Porcelain is relatively strong for a ceramic, but it’s just not up to the task of dealing with biting forces. Early veneers were fragile, and so were cosmetic dental crowns. These could look good, but were vulnerable to breaking, even in the front of the mouth.
For many years, minor innovations allowed for better compromises: attractive crowns that were a little stronger, or stronger crowns that weren’t quite as unattractive, but, in the end, the dichotomy held.
There was even an additional drawback to metal crowns. Although we relied on these for use in demanding situations, they could sometimes trigger bad reactions. This could lead to irritation and redness in the gums, even receding gums. Usually, this was limited to lower-quality metal crowns, like the way costume jewelry can sometimes cause a skin reaction.
The Beauty of Modern Ceramics
But this all changed around the year 2000. It was around this time that we started seeing new , advanced dental materials that could be even stronger than natural tooth enamel, but look just like natural teeth. The first of these was lithium silicate (also called lithium disilicate).
Lithium silicate is a ceramic that look so much like natural tooth enamel that it’s hard to distinguish from natural teeth when put in properly. And it’s more than twice as strong as tooth enamel.
But this isn’t the strongest of modern materials. We also have available zirconia for making crowns. Zirconia (yes, it’s a variation on the material used for cheap diamonds) can be ten times as strong as your natural tooth enamel. And, yes, it’s very attractive. It can be used anywhere you might need a crown, helping you to maintain an attractive smile.
Plus, these materials are highly biocompatible–you won’t get any reaction from them.
Strong and Beautiful Smiles
If you’ve had to make compromises for your dental restorations in the past, know that it’s not that way anymore. Now you can choose dental crowns that give you everything you want from your smile all at the same time. Enjoy a beautiful smile while knowing that your crowns are durable to last ten, fifteen years, or more.
To learn more about the benefits of modern dental crowns in River Edge, NJ, please call (201) 343-4044 today for an appointment with a cosmetic dentist at the River Edge Dental Center for General & Cosmetic Dentistry.