It makes sense that porcelain crowns are going to deliver the most natural-looking results. It's the closest match for the color and consistency of natural dental enamel. Logically, a resin (acrylic) crown won't come close in terms of looks and durability, and while some metal crowns (stainless steel or gold alloy) may exceed the strength of a porcelain crown, they (unsurprisingly) don't look all that natural. The impressive results of a porcelain crown take time to achieve, but don't worry—it doesn't take all that long. In fact, it usually takes only three visits to your dentist.
A Thorough Assessment
Your first visit is a thorough assessment of the tooth that will host the crown, as well as your surrounding jaw. Your dentist may perform an x-ray, while also closely examining the tooth's structure. Since many crowns are applied because the tooth has extensive decay (more than what can be corrected with a solitary dental filling), the tooth may need some restoration during this visit. This involves a filling to halt the further spread of any decay, with the crown then intended to reinforce the tooth while restoring its appearance.
Measuring the Tooth
If the first visit is largely related to preparing for the procedure, the second visit is when the procedure truly gets underway. Your dentist will take detailed measurements of the tooth. This records the required dimensions for your new dental crown. Some dentists prefer to take a manual mold—instructing you to gently bite down on a piece of dental putty to create a physical impression of the tooth. Other dentists may use a digital intra-oral scanner to create a digital model of the tooth.
Once measurements have been obtained, your tooth is reduced in size. A thin layer of its outermost dental enamel will be shaved off. This makes sure that the tooth isn't any larger once its crown has been fitted. A tooth with reduced enamel is often more sensitive and can be more vulnerable to breakage until a crown has been fitted. Your dentist will apply a temporary crown (usually acrylic) at this time. The temporary crown won't be as strong as a porcelain crown, so you need to be a little cautious when eating with it.
Adding the Porcelain Crown
As soon as your porcelain crown has been manufactured and color-matched to your dentist's satisfaction, it's ready to be applied. You'll come back to the clinic for the final stage of the process. Your dentist will remove the temporary crown, and will then apply a small amount of dental cement to your tooth before applying your new permanent porcelain crown.
Although these visits are likely to be spread out over several weeks, it's not really that long to wait for such an impressive feat of dentistry to be achieved. And the results are going to be more than worth the wait.
To learn more about porcelain crowns, contact a dentist in your area today.