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Porcelain Dental Crown In Houston, TX: Why Patients Love Them

Porcelain crowns are the most common type of tooth crown. Let’s see why they’re so popular…

By Jennifer
Photography by Pete

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Dental crowns are used for various purposes, from restoring decayed and broken teeth to replacing missing teeth with a dental bridge or implant. Traditional dental crowns used gold and, later, more base metals like palladium, platinum, nickel, and chromium. These were strong and long-lasting but easy to spot, especially as dental crowns change a tooth’s entire appearance. However, as dental technology improved, more natural-looking crowns became available, soon becoming the most popular types of dental crowns.

Porcelain dental crowns combine both aesthetics and durability. Porcelain is designed to recreate your tooth’s original appearance, both in shape and color. They come in several shades, and your crowns dentist can make minor adjustments to ensure they match the rest of your neighboring teeth. Porcelain is also much stronger than the dental composite used in dental filling and bonding procedures, so these crowns can easily last more than a decade or two.

While gold and other metal crowns are still sometimes used for back teeth, which take the brunt of your bite’s full force, porcelain crowns have no such restrictions. They are an excellent option for all teeth, including highly visible front teeth. However, they’re also strong and sturdy enough to stay in good shape on molars and premolars.

When getting a porcelain crown, your dentist will need to make a custom crown. This is because no two patients or teeth are the same. After treating your tooth for breaks and cavities, the dentist will scan your tooth to help design your porcelain crown. Once the crown is made, you’ll come in for placement. The design process considers the crown’s color, shape, and size to match the original tooth exactly. When designing a dental crown, we will take into account:

  • Tooth’s location
  • Tooth’s size and shape
  • Gum health
  • Tooth to gum ratio
  • Tooth’s shade and color
  • Your dental habits (ex. clenching or grinding your teeth)
  • Type of porcelain crown

Types of Porcelain Crowns

There is more than one type of porcelain crown: all-porcelain and porcelain-fused-to-metal (PFM). Which porcelain crown is best? Each porcelain-type tooth crown has its advantages. Our dentist will help you decide which is best for you depending on your preference and individual needs.

All-Porcelain Crowns

All-porcelain crowns are, without a doubt, the most popular kind of dental crown today. Made entirely of porcelain, they are the most natural in appearance. They can closely match the look of tooth enamel, even above PFM crowns. Additionally, they are wholly biocompatible and metal-free, making them one of the only options for patients with metal allergies.

However, one of the drawbacks of all-porcelain crowns is that they are not as strong as metal crowns. They can crack or chip with enough force. Patients with a bad habit of grinding or clenching their teeth while asleep should be careful with porcelain crowns placed on back teeth. We recommend using a nighttime mouthguard to better protect your crown. All-porcelain crowns are also more costly than PFM crowns.

Porcelain-Fused-to-Metal Crowns

PFM crowns are composed of a metal base that is covered by a porcelain exterior. This leaves the crown looking like a real tooth while still benefiting from a more durable foundation. The metal base makes these crowns look slightly less natural than an all-porcelain. However, it also keeps the tooth better able to withstand your bite’s full force on back teeth like molars and premolars. PFM crowns are also more cost-effective than all-porcelain crowns, making them a great option for patients on a budget or who need multiple crowns.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do Porcelain Crowns Stain?

Porcelain crowns are incredibly durable and stain-resistant, and they are designed to stay white for decades. Still, they require proper care to remain in good shape. Drinking coffee, tea, and sports drinks every day can eventually lead to surface stains. Luckily, most surface-level stains aren’t permanent and can instead be eliminated with a professional dental cleaning. Your dentist can polish the crown’s surface to remove more stubborn plaque and tartar buildup on the crown’s surface that your toothbrush couldn’t. However, if the crown becomes damaged, stains can breach the porcelain surface and cause more lasting discoloration.

Additionally, while your crowns may not be staining, they may look yellower if you whiten your teeth. Porcelain doesn’t gradually absorb pigments from food and drinks like natural enamel does, which allows them to keep their original appearance for years. However, this also means that they cannot absorb peroxide when whitening your teeth. As the surrounding teeth become lighter, the porcelain stays the same. This can create an illusion that the crown is stained.

Why Is It Black Around My Crown?

With PFM crowns, patients may sometimes notice a ring of black around their tooth at the gum line. This often happens with periodontitis. While PFM crowns have a porcelain exterior covering the metal base, the porcelain is only meant to extend to the part of the crown above the gum line. If gum disease causes the gums to recede, the uncovered metal parts of the crown become visible. The gums can return to their original height and health with proper care and treatment, resubmerging the metal ring below the soft tissues.

Does Getting A Crown Hurt?

Not with our dentists at Nu Dentistry on the job. Before starting your dental crown procedure, we will numb the tooth and surrounding areas with a local anesthetic. This will keep you from feeling anything more than some pressure as we take care of your tooth, even if a root canal is needed. In all, receiving a crown should be no more stressful or uncomfortable than getting a simple tooth filling. However, patients can also request dental sedation if they want more all-encompassing comfort and relaxation during their dental crown procedure. Sedation is a popular option for patients with dental anxiety or who need multiple same-day procedures.

How Long Do Crowns Last?

Porcelain dental crowns have an average lifespan of 10 to 15 years. However, many crowns can last more than 20 or 25 years without issue. The most significant factor in a porcelain crown’s longevity is your own care. Dental hygiene, the foods and drinks you consume, and even habits like clenching your teeth or biting your nails can impact how long your crown lasts. Even without major impacts or accidents, wear, tear, and strain can gradually weaken your crown until it eventually breaks under stress.

As strong and durable as porcelain is, it’s not invulnerable. Both all-porcelain and PFM crowns can crack or chip with enough force, just like natural tooth enamel can. All-porcelain crowns are more at risk because they don’t have PFM ones’ sturdier metal base. Patients with metal-free crowns don’t need to watch their smiles or dental habits like a hawk. Still, we recommend being generally more careful, especially with crowns on back teeth that take on the daily force and pressure of your bite.

Additionally, the underlying tooth should be healthy without tooth decay or cracks hidden beneath the crown’s surface. Otherwise, it doesn’t matter how well you take care of your dental crown. If the tooth is compromised, it will instead need additional treatment (most likely requiring the crown to be removed or drilled into). Or else you might put the tooth’s health and life at risk, requiring more extensive dental care like a root canal or even tooth extraction.

How Much Do Porcelain Crowns Cost?

Due to their mix of cosmetics and durability, porcelain crowns are more costly than traditional metal crowns. The cost of your dental crown can range depending on several factors. Our dentists will calculate your treatment’s price based on:

  • Type of porcelain crown. All-porcelain dental crowns are more costly than porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns because they are entirely metal-free and the most natural-looking.
  • Complexity of your dental problem. The extent of your cavity or dental trauma can impact your treatment’s price.
  • Additional procedures. Your dentist may need to factor in other treatments when calculating your dental crown cost, such as root canals, tooth extractions, dental implants, etc.
  • Dental insurance. Most dental insurance plans provide about half of your dental crown cost. However, it’s important to check with your specific provider beforehand.

Along with PPO dental insurance, our practice also accepts alternative financing options, including Care Credit Dental and our own in-house plans.

Are you ready to say goodbye to your decayed and broken tooth and restore your smile with a beautiful porcelain dental crown? The Nu Dentistry team is here to help! Call our Houston office at (832) 916-4144 to schedule an appointment with us today.

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