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Ceramic (Non-Metallic) Crown- Smile Enhancements

May 16, 2014

Ceramic, Non-Metallic Crowns are the current rave in Cosmetic Smile Enhancements. Everyone wants teeth that, once restored, “Brighten Your Smile” and give you that overall “Glow” your face has begun to miss as we age and begin to wrinkle and tarnish a bit. The old metal crowns had been replaced in the mid-1960’s by porcelain jacket crowns. But by the mid-1980’s these crowns showed a 25% chance of failing after 11 years and in posterior teeth it was much greater! Fortunately, in 1983 Horn, Simonsen and others introduced the first bonded porcelain crowns. However, although these crowns didn’t fracture as often, they frequently came loose from their underlying teeth because their dental cements didn’t adhere well to dentin.

Anatomy of Crown Graphic

Anatomy of Crown Graphic

Modern Advancements in Crown-Related Procedures

Today, along with the development of newer cements, the modern-day all-ceramic crowns have arrived. These new systems not only stay bonded to teeth well, they can also be categorized into two groups: those that are translucent and very natural in appearance and those that are more opaque having a higher-strength core that resist extreme chewing forces. Both are fabricated without a metal backing and therefore do not show their metal (called “shine through”) up by the gum line as their owner’s gums recede with age.


There are several companies producing various formulations of these ceramics and supplying them to the dental labs for crowns and bridges. Just to keep it simple, the opaque, stronger crowns are made from a Zirconia core and used in posterior teeth because they can withstand the stronger forces exerted in that region. The translucent, more color adjustable crowns are made from a pressured ceramic and are thus mostly used for anterior teeth. For those who have very strong bites and/or grind at night we now have a third option which allows us to “layer” porcelain onto the Zirconia based crowns resulting in stronger anterior teeth that won’t chip with their nighttime bruxism!

Which option applies best to you?

In General the dentist will pick the appropriate cosmetic crown for you based on several factors including how much support is needed, whether the teeth are discolored, how much of the tooth is remaining, whether it will show when you’re speaking, eating, smiling, etc., as well as how much clearance you have with the opposing teeth, where your gum line is located, and finally, the color of your teeth. If you have an “unusual” color disposition, then the translucent crown may be the best choice!

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