Dental crowns effectively improve a smile by modifying teeth color, position and size simultaneously. They are essential for comprehensive cosmetic dental makeovers and/or reinforcement of structurally compromised teeth. Properly-made crowns radiate life-like tooth aesthetics, enhance structure integrity and improve smile quality.
The making of dental crowns involves 3 main steps:
(1) professional contouring of weakened tooth structure,
(2) fabrication of the crown on a laboratory bench top, and
(3) bonding of the crowns to strengthen the weakened teeth.
Traditional dental crowns are either made of metal or porcelain. Conventional tooth color porcelain materials are similar in physical nature as our household porcelain – they are brittle in nature. On the other hand, metal crowns are strong but lack life-like aesthetic quality. Even though porcelain veneers are commonly used in smile makeovers, porcelain veneers do not offer any structural reinforcement to the teeth and their longevity is questionable when the structural strength of the teeth is sub-optimal. A skillful and experienced dental technician is also essential for the fabrication of well-fitting traditional crowns with excellent artistic quality.
Derivatives of zirconium material have been used for fabrication of man-made diamonds (cubic zirconia) and artificial hip joints for a long time. One of its advantages is its biocompatibility – our human body integrates well with zirconium material with minimal adverse reaction.
Research has shown that the strength of contemporary zirconium dental materials is comparable to titanium, the metal commonly used in aircraft structures and dental implants. The recent development of zirconium-based CAD-CAM dental crown materials combine computer technology precision and the strength of metal crowns while offering life-like superior aesthetic quality. Instead of relying on a dental technician, well-fitting crowns could be robotically made using CAD-CAM technology with significantly reduced human intervention. Research has shown that the fit of these CAD-CAM crowns are excellent even at a sub-microscopic level.
The removal of excessive tooth structure may compromise the long term functional outcome of the tooth. Excessive removal of tooth structure is no longer required as very thin crowns can be made due to the superior physical strength of zirconium crowns.
As a result, zirconium based dental crowns are superior in structural strength reinforcement and aesthetic quality. It may be the closest to the perfect material for any smile makeover. Maybe we are finally truly realizing the full potential of ‘Diamonds are a girl’s (and guy’s) best friend’
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