Looking For A Metal-Free Crown Restoration? What Should You Know About Your Options

If you need to have dental crown work done but don't want to use anything with metal, you may wonder if there are other options open to you. Although metal and porcelain-fused-to-metal, or PFM, crowns are excellent options, they may not be right for you if you have allergies to metal or if you simply don't like the look of metal. One of the things you can do is ask a dentist about all-ceramic crowns. All-ceramic crowns come in lithium disilicate, porcelain and zirconium, which are all natural, tooth-colored restorations. Here are things to know about metal crowns and why metal-free options are good for you.

Why Are Metal Crowns Not Right For You?

Metal-based tooth restorations can be problematic for you for a number of reasons, including allergies. Metal allergies, or sensitivity, occur whenever you touch items made with chromium, nickel, titanium or another type of metal. While most allergic reactions occur in your skin, some individuals develop oral symptoms when they place something metallic inside their mouths or eat something that contains metal, such as an utensil or chocolate. For instance, some individuals may develop sores, itchiness and gingivitis from different metallic-based restorations. 

If metal allergies aren't concerns for you, you may have other reasons for not wanting to use metal crowns, including aesthetics. Although metallic crowns can strengthen and protect decayed or treated teeth, they can also stand out in your mouth when you smile. If you work in a high-profile field that requires you to smile often, such as nursing and management, you may feel uncomfortable with metal crowns.

PFM crowns can also become problems in the future if your gumline recedes from age or gum disease. Gum recession exposes the top portion of PFM crowns, which shows up as a dark line or demarcation. If you plan to have crown work completed in your anterior, or front, teeth, PFM crowns may not work well for you in the future. 

To avoid the complications or issues above, consider metal-free crown placement options.

What Are Your Metal-Free Crown Options?

The first step to getting metal-free crowns is to learn about your options. Depending on the dentist you choose for your treatment, they may offer all-ceramic dental crowns in the office. The materials used for ceramic, or glass, restorations include composite, porcelain, lithium disilicate, and zirconia, all of which are compatible with your mouth's tissues. Composite and porcelain are already well known in dentistry, while lithium disilicate and zirconia are fairly new materials on the market. While each type of ceramic offers its own unique strengths and benefits, lithium disilicate may be a better option for your non-metal crowns.

According to sources, lithium disilicate features a number of benefits, including performance. The material can be used in back and front teeth, which may not be an option for other types of all ceramic materials. In the past, some glass-based crowns cracked when exposed to the bite forces of molars. Lithium disilicate performs well under these circumstances because the material is a mixture of multiple, strong ingredients, such as alumina and quartz, and tends to withstand heat, or thermal, expansion better than other types of ceramics. Thermal expansion refers to how materials change shape, size and volume when heated. Disilicate is considered strong and resilient because it doesn't change much during the thermal expansion process.

All-ceramic crowns are designed to match or almost match the natural shades of your real teeth. A dental provider can do this manually with a shade chart, or they can create the ideal look with a CAD, or computer-aided design program. With both techniques, a dentist will generally make models of your teeth, jaws and facial profile. The models allow a provider to design and produce crowns that improve your ability to chew food and speak. 

If you would like to know more about all-ceramic crowns, contact a dentist in your area today or click here for info on dentistry.