Home HealthTopics Health Centers Reference Library Research
Join us on Facebook Join us on Facebook Share on Facebook

Crowns, Bridges, Dentures, Implants

Crowns for front teeth

08/26/2008

Question:

I am planning to replace the crowns on my two front teeth that have in place for 30+ years. Is a CEREC crown a good choice for front teeth? I would like the best cosmetic result as well as strength and longevity of the material. Would a zirconium based crown be superior to CEREC?

Answer:

Natural teeth often possess many different shades within the same tooth. Therefore, Cerec is a poor choice for front crowns - they are cut from a block of ceramic that is one color. While Cerec can be stained on the surface, this can produce a "fake" look. Cerec is also relatively weak.

Zirconia is indeed stronger, but only a thin layer on the inside of a zirconia crown is the strong part. Zirconia is very opaque and often very light in color. This thin core is then layered with other ceramics to create a more natural look. The ceramics that are layered on the outside are no stronger than Cerec, so they potentially could chip off of the core material.

The dilemma, and focus of dental ceramics research is that strong ceramics are opaque and do not possess the life-like appearance of natural tooth structure. The weaker ceramics look much more natural and translucent. Most ceramics are strong enough to survive on two front teeth, unless you grind your teeth or have an underbite.

Since your existing crowns have survived 30+ years (I assume without breakage/chipping issues), you can probably have new crowns made of about any ceramic material and still have a good, long-lasting outcome.

For more information:

Go to the Crowns, Bridges, Dentures, Implants health topic, where you can:

Response by:

Julie A Holloway, DDS, MS, FACP Julie A Holloway, DDS, MS, FACP
Associate Professor of Restorative and Prosthetic Dentistry
College of Dentistry
The Ohio State University