If you are considering your dental restoration choices for a tooth in the smile zone, it's important that you understand the difference between the types of dental crowns. The two most common types of dental crown are a porcelain fused to metal (PFM) crown and an all-porcelain crown.
One is attractive, the other is sturdy. If you are hoping to have a crown placed on a front tooth, for example, a central incisor, then an all porcelain crown will be most suitable.
All Porcelain Crowns are More Aesthetic
The key difference between all porcelain crowns and porcelain fused to metal crowns is appearance. An all-porcelain crown can be created to mimic your natural teeth. For instance, the edges can be made translucent and the shade of the porcelain can be matched to your natural teeth. This makes all porcelain crowns ideal for the restoration of teeth in the smile zone.
Porcelain Fused to Metal Crowns are Tougher
Obviously, because PFM crowns have a metal substructure, they are sturdier than all porcelain crowns. However, because these crowns are fused to metal, they are much better suited to back teeth. If used to restore a front tooth, the underlying metal frame will compromise your smile as light cannot pass through the metal structure. This means the tooth will be more opaque than your natural teeth. The metal may also be visible at the gum line and to observers, may look like tooth decay.
All Porcelain for Incisors and Metal for Molars
Although all porcelain crowns are more expensive than porcelain fused to metal crowns, they are worth it for their ability to blend in with your natural teeth. The fact that they are structurally weaker should not be a factor with front teeth as you do not use them to chew hard foods such as nuts and candy.
When it comes to restoring your premolars and molars, porcelain fused to metal is the most suitable of the two. Not only does porcelain fused to metal stand up better to chewing forces, but the fact that it is less aesthetic doesn't matter because it is less visible in the rear of the mouth. The next time you visit your dentist to restore a tooth with a dental crown, remember the differences so that you can select the most appropriate crown for your specific case.
Don't be afraid to speak to your dentist if you'd like to make a suggestion. These are, after all, your teeth!