When the structure of your tooth becomes compromised, either from physical trauma, a root canal therapy, or a large cavity, you may need a crown. Fortunately, porcelain crowns offer a natural look, so you can camouflage damage and support your remaining tooth without even a hint that the replacement is artificial. You may find it easy to explain what makes a metal crown look unnatural, since it sticks out like a sore thumb. However, pinpointing the qualities of a porcelain crown that make it a seamless addition to your smile may stump you. Philadelphia cosmetic dentist Bruce Wilderman reviews the realistic characteristics that make porcelain crowns a natural part of your existing smile:
They Are Color-Customizable
One of the main reasons your porcelain crown looks so natural is that your dentist can “color match” the dental crown to your other teeth. Unlike metal crowns, which do not match your teeth, these crowns look “white.” However, because each person’s smile actually displays a variety of shades that we call “white,” your dentist will determine the precise color of your tooth, and will then instruct the individual who creates your crown to match that shade. A crown that is even slightly lighter or darker will not look right. Advanced color-matching technology means you will be able to enjoy the uniform smile you desire.
They Are Custom-Designed to Match Your Smile
No two teeth are identical. In addition, you may have friends with large teeth, small teeth, or teeth that look dramatically different in shape when compared with yours. Because creating a dental crown that blends seamlessly with the rest of your teeth is essential in creating your best smile, your dentist will ensure your crown is shaped to the dimensions specific to your mouth.
First, your dentist will take impressions of your mouth. He or she may use mold impressions, in which he will place trays filled with impression material over your teeth until the molds set. Or, the dentist may use digital 3D imaging to create virtual impressions. Your dentist will produce a design guide for matching your other teeth. Your impressions will then be sent to a lab, where a master ceramicist will custom-design your porcelain crown, so it looks like your own tooth.
The Ceramic is Translucent
If you look closely at your teeth, you will see that they are not completely opaque. You can see partially through the outermost layer - called enamel - because it is translucent. Beneath the enamel is your tooth’s dentin. This creates the multifaceted visual depth of a natural tooth, which displays subtle variations in shade. Unlike metal crowns, which are opaque - you cannot see through them at all - a porcelain crown is translucent. The master ceramicist designing your crown will use layer upon layer of ceramic until the crown fits the correct dimensions, and gives off the same visually translucent appearance of a tooth, for the most natural finish.
Consult a Dentist
If your tooth is damaged but healthy enough to avoid an extraction, you may make a wonderful candidate for a porcelain crown. To learn more about the benefits of porcelain crowns, and whether they make a good fit for your needs, speak with an experienced dentist today.