Modern dentistry keeps developing new restoration options. However, as these new options become available, some people have a tendency to think of previous technologies as being less desirable. This may be justified in some cases. For example, now that we have tooth-colored fillings as an option, it seems less justifiable to use metal amalgam fillings that have many functional problems and also contain toxic mercury.
Whether we believe that these metal amalgam fillings are toxic to the wearer or not, there is no doubt that they contain mercury which contaminates our air and our water. Some patients also feel concerned about whether or not their restorations are MRI compatible. If you get a restoration with a strong magnetic field, it can distort the image on your MRI. But this is not the case for porcelain fused to metal (PFM) dental crowns, which remain, in general, a good restoration option.
PFM Crown vs Porcelain
Porcelain fused to metal crowns remain a good restoration option because they still offer many benefits for people looking for cosmetic dentistry or restorative dentistry. First of all, PFM dental crowns are actually a very aesthetic option. When these crowns come from the dental lab, their color match is as good as all-ceramic crowns. Comparing a PFM crown vs porcelain, they look as much like your natural teeth as fully ceramic crowns. PFM crowns are also durable, with a similar lifespan to full ceramic crowns. 99% of PFM crowns have a survival rate of over seven years.
Although other studies might report a lower survival rate, overall the survival rate is consistent with that of advanced ceramic crowns. In general, they are functionally and aesthetically comparable to all-ceramic crowns, but there are some situations in which they may not be as good.
When PFM Crowns Might Not Be Good for You
One concern that is driving people away from PFM crowns is the desire to remove all metal from the mouth. Certainly, the presence of metal in a PFM crown can lead to some potential concerns like galvanic currents and metal allergies. If you are concerned about these, then PFM crowns are not right for you. Please let us know if you would prefer to take a more holistic approach to your restorations. If a PFM dental crown isn’t right for you, we can offer a full ceramic dental crown, with no metal.
Porcelain fused to metal crowns may also not be right for you if you have TMJ or experience episodes of bruxism. In this case, the relatively stable bond between the porcelain and metal may break. Once the metal begins to chip or splinter off, the crown loses its aesthetic appeal. It is also more likely to fail, resulting in risks to the tooth.
Finally, the cosmetic benefits of PFM crowns are also compromised if you suffer receding gums. In this case, the metal around the edge of the crown becomes visible, which can be unappealing, especially if the crown is in the front portion of the teeth.
Overall, PFM crowns remain a reasonable option, but they do have some limitations and situations in which they might not be the best choice. If you have other questions about dental crowns, don’t hesitate to talk to one of our dentists or visit our questions page. To talk to a Spokane cosmetic dentist about your dental crown options, please call Collins Dentistry & Aesthetics at (509) 563-7580.