In decades past, when a crown was needed for a dental restoration, porcelain-fused-to-metal (PFM) was the standard of care. Produced by baking a layer of porcelain onto a metal framework, these crowns were intended to function as durable, natural-looking replacements for damaged teeth.
The Problem with Porcelain-Fused-to-Metal Crowns
Unfortunately, in reality, PFM crowns proved to be less than desirable for designing strong and beautiful smiles. The base—dark gray in color—could be seen at the gumline, creating a distinct border between the patient’s teeth and gums. And even though opaquers could be used to block the color of the dark metal, there was no way to create the translucency that is a characteristic of natural teeth.
These issues, combined with common concerns about metal sensitivities and the overall safety of placing metals in the mouth, have led many patients to seek alternatives for their PFM crowns.
Advantages of Metal-Free
In recent years, technology has made it possible for dentists to bond high-strength porcelain crowns directly to the tooth, offering plenty of strength and a major improvement in appearance—no metals necessary.
At Contemporary & Esthetic Dentistry, we offer the very best options in metal-free crowns. Made of new materials, namely e.max and zirconia, these restorations are extremely strong and aesthetic, and can be used for both crowns and bridges without any additional reinforcement.
Metal-Free Crowns & Bridges
- Zirconia is an excellent material that we use for many crowns and bridges. However, it may not be the answer if your situation is a highly-aesthetic one, such as a front tooth. This is due to the limitations in the manipulation of color in the material. But if you’re needing a strong, long-lasting crown elsewhere in your mouth, zirconia makes a wonderful choice.
- As another metal-free alternative, the e.max crown offers strength and esthetics, all in one. Made with a core of either lithium disilicate or zirconia overlaid with porcelain, e.max crowns are superbly strong and can be tinted to match your tooth’s natural color. And since there is no metal in their core, they exhibit a natural translucency that mimics real enamel. For these reasons and more, we recommend e.max crowns for restorations of the front teeth.
Fillings Without Metals
Even though the American Dental Association assures us that metal fillings (silver-mercury amalgam) are safe, many people are still uncomfortable with the idea of having metals bonded to their teeth. At Contemporary & Esthetic Dentistry, we offer the newer composite fillings, which do not use metal and have other benefits that we discuss on our mercury-free dentistry page.
If you are interested in our metal-free dentistry options, just give us a call, or fill out our request an appointment form and we will call you. Dr. Farber would enjoy having you as a new patient.