One common type of dental crown that was used in the recent past was the porcelain fused to metal or PFM crown. PFM crowns became popular as a cosmetic alternative to metal crowns, and were supposed to combine the durability of metal crowns with the attractiveness of ceramic ones.
Unfortunately, because they were used when ceramics weren’t yet strong enough, they often ended up combining the fragility of porcelain with the unattractiveness of metal. The thin layer of porcelain could flake off, exposing the metal underneath. And because the metal was not designed to stand up on its own, it sometimes wore through, too, which could require temporary measures to keep them functional.
So many people who had PFM crowns are now looking to replace them. But if you had a PFM crown, should you replace it with a metal crown or a ceramic one?
Considering Metal Crowns
Metal crowns are an old technology, but they’re not entirely obsolete. They have some definite benefits worth considering. For example, they are really durable, which means they can stand up to the toughest punishment at any point in your mouth, even the back where your bite is strongest.
Noble metal crowns are chemically inert, so they’re not harmful.
But all metal crowns are highly visible, even if they’re in the back of your mouth. You may not show them when you smile, but eating and talking will expose them. Temperature sensitivity can also be a problem with all-metal crowns. And if you opt to get a non-noble crown, there are risks associated with the metal. Nickel is a common metal used in the alloys of these crowns, and many people are allergic to it. Even if you’re not allergic, you might see gum discoloration, similar to what some people see on their skin related to cheap jewelry.
Benefits of All-Porcelain Crowns
If you got a PFM crown partly because you were concerned about the appearance, then it’s likely that a ceramic crown is your best bet today. Modern ceramics are much stronger than they were even just a few years ago, and now they are suitable for use anywhere in your mouth, even on your molars! Ceramic crowns can also be very attractive, looking more like your natural teeth. And they give the best insulation against temperature changes.
Ceramics are fully biocompatible. You don’t have to worry about any adverse reactions related to your ceramic crowns.
And with our advanced CEREC system, ceramic dental crowns have another advantage: we can make them in-office. Instead of having to send away for a new metal crown, we can make your ceramic crown the same day–no need for a temporary.
But you do have to take into account some drawbacks of all ceramic crowns. First, they can be more expensive than metal crowns. And you might have to get more material removed from your natural tooth to make room for a ceramic crown.