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What is a Porcelain Fused to Metal Crown?

What is a Porcelain Fused to Metal Crown

Did you know that around 10-20% of American adults ages 18-64 have broken or missing teeth? While the exact number of those with broken teeth is not exact, these numbers gathered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that many Americans deal with damaged teeth. In addition to damaged teeth, it has also been found that as many as 31.6% of adults ages 20-44 have at least one untreated cavity. 

Cases where a tooth has become significantly damaged or decayed are generally treated by your dentist through the placement of a dental crown. Dental crowns are caps that sit on top of your natural tooth and act as a protective barrier to the underlying tissue. Because dental crowns encapsulate the tooth and become visible in its place, there are many different options available for dental crowns. 

Porcelain fused to metal crown

One such option is the porcelain fused to metal crown. Like its name suggests, this type of crown uses a metal base with porcelain fused on top. To place a porcelain fused to metal crown, the natural tooth structure will first need to be reduced in size and shaped so that a dental crown can fit securely over the affected tooth. Depending on the location and amount of damage or decay, the tooth may also need to be built up in certain areas to ensure there is enough structure to support the dental crown. 

Dental crown preparation

Porcelain fused to metal crowns usually require two dental visits to place. During the first appointment, the affected tooth is prepared using the method described above. Then, a dental impression or oral scan is taken and sent to a dental lab. Your dentist will also place a temporary crown for you to wear between the first and second appointments. During the second appointment, the permanent crown will be checked for size, adjusted as needed, and adhered to the tooth. However, if your dentist has an in-office milling machine only a single dental appointment may be needed. 

If your dentist has recommended a dental crown or if you think that you may need one, it is important to consider both the advantages and disadvantages of a porcelain fused to metal crown: 

Porcelain Fused to Metal Crown Advantages

  • The outer porcelain shell is extremely aesthetic. Not only does porcelain have the same color as natural teeth, but it has very similar translucent properties. This means that teeth restored with a dental crown will look much more natural with porcelain than with other materials. 
  • Both porcelain and metal are extremely durable dental materials that can withstand the pressure of chewing for long periods of time. If well-taken care of, then can last many years. 

Porcelain Fused to Metal Crown Disadvantages

  • The combination of porcelain and metal means the crown is thicker and more of the natural tooth structure will need to be removed to allow the dental crown to fit properly. 
  • Like their name suggests, porcelain fused to metal crowns contain metal. This can be less than ideal for those with metal allergies or sensitivities. Additionally, the metal ring at the bottom of the crown can possibly show through the gums or after gum recession has occurred. 

As you can see, porcelain fused to metal crowns are unique from other types of dental crowns. Although all dental crowns restore damaged or decayed teeth, porcelain fused to metal crowns have their own advantages over other types of crowns. However, they also have some disadvantages as well. Therefore, it is important to discuss these with your local dentist to determine if a porcelain fused to metal crown is right for you. 

Dr. Bob Dokhanchi

Dr. Dokhanchi earned the degree of Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) with clinical honors in 1992. Dr. Dokhanchi attends numerous continuing education courses every year in order to stay current with the latest techniques and technology in the world of dentistry. He considers Ethics, Quality, Safety, and Comfort the pillars of his dental practice and believes that communicating with patients is essential to quality dental care.

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