In the past, there were primarily two different kinds of crowns. One was all metal, mostly made of gold. The other had a metal substructure for strength and the tooth-colored porcelain was baked to the metal in layers.

Down at the gum line where the margin of the tooth, the porcelain, and the metal intersected, the underlying metal cast a dark shadow to the area. As the patient aged, the gum receded somewhat and the exposed margin of the crown showed up as a dark line.

These porcelain-to-metal crowns still have limited uses in dentistry. There now are other tooth-colored materials, like Zirconium, that are milled in the lab and have strength rivaling metal.

This is a real breakthrough, since the more transparent and life-like porcelains can be cast to it to provide for both strength and a good cosmetic result.

When the application requires cosmetics over strength, all porcelain crowns and veneers are utilized to provide for the ultimate in beauty. Regardless of which crown is used, it is now possible to eliminate the black line with a crown that is strong, long lasting and beautiful.

When doing cosmetic dentistry, the ultimate smile is designed ahead of time. This leads to the patient having “temporaries,” which will look like the final design. Thus, in a single visit, a smile can be transformed.

Finally, the permanent crowns or veneers are cemented in place. From start to finish, the margins are blended in such a way that even in temporaries, there will be no gray lines.

The same goes for the technology used to make a single crown in the office. This is called CEREC, an acronym for CEramic REConstruction. With our CEREC omnicam, we use digital software to take a 3D image of your tooth.

Then using a CEREC block made of high quality, durable ceramic, the CEREC machine mills a custom, metal free restoration in about an hour. We permanently place the crown in this single visit.

There are so many advantages in using CEREC.

  1. The treatment is completed in one visit.
  2. There is no temporary to be worn, which can be rough, sensitive, and often time come off.
  3. Due to the 3D imaging, no goopy impression materials are used.
  4. The doctor himself designs the crown to ensure proper fit and function.
  5. Because there is no metal substructure, the crowns are more real looking, and the materials used rival the strength of metals.

Ceramic crowns and veneers are now the preferred treatment of patients and doctors alike. Not only are they esthetically pleasing, with their life-like appearance, but they are also durable and reliable.

If you are ready for an upgrade, ceramic crowns are a good choice.

James G. Jenkins, D.M.D. is the owner of Bluffton Dental Care in Bluffton.