Dental materials: From porcelain fused to metal to all ceramic restoration (porcelain teeth)

The first impression is often a deciding factor how we are perceived by others. Especially beautiful teeth matter in this regard. Thus, the desire to have natural-looking, unobtrusive dentures is understandable. Aesthetic dental crowns, bridges, implants and inlays are dentures which cannot be identified as such.

The use of the right dental material plays an important part in achieving a natural look. They have to meet the highest standards to last for a lifetime – comfort, stability and aesthetics the three most important criteria. Dental materials have to permanently retain their form and colour and are made out of different substances. Basically, one differentiates between composite resins (synthetic filling), porcelain fused to metal and all ceramic (porcelain) restorations.

Composite resins (synthetic fillings)

Composite resins  (synthetic fillings) can be inserted very quickly at a reasonable price. However, they are only suitable for small defects such as fillings. Furthermore this kind of filling has the disadvantage of possible wear and tear and change in colour caused by staining foods and drinks such as tea or coffee.

Porcelain fused to metal

With the introduction of porcelain fused to metal – a metal shell on which is fused a veneer of porcelain in a high heat oven – a milestone has been set in the 1960s. Still today, fixed partial dentures such as dental crowns and bridges are being made with porcelain fused to metal. However, the metal frame (or shell) prevents light to go through and makes it virtually impossible to imitate the natural colour of teeth.

All ceramic dentures (porcelain crowns, bridges, dental implants or inlays)

Since the 1990s all-ceramic dentures (porcelain crowns, bridges, dental implants or inlays) are considered an alternative solution to porcelain fused to metal. For a long time they were considered less stable. However, by advancing the material itself, the reliability of porcelain restorations has been increased considerably. With zircon (or zirconium or zirconium oxide), a high performance all-ceramic material has been created, which is by far a much better solution than conventional all-ceramic (porcelain) when it comes to stability and usability. Today, all ceramic crown, bridges, dental implants or inlays have a wide range of applications. The use of zircon also made it possible to offer patients metal-free and very aesthetic removable dentures as well as dental implant prosthetics.

All-ceramic restorations - advantages

First and foremost, all-ceramic restorations have greater advantages in regards to aesthetics. Teeth are to a certain degree light-transmissive. Therefore, dental materials need to copy not only the colour but also the dental translucence in order to appear natural. With a metal framework it is not possible to imitate this effect. All-ceramic restorations on the other hand are translucent and can be colourised to every requested shade. They can copy the hard tooth substance so perfectly, that it is hardly possible to distinguish between natural teeth and artificial dentition. In contrast to porcelain fused to metal crowns or bridges, all-ceramic (porcelain) dentures don’t cause allergies, especially not at the gum line.

Moreover, the 1990s marked a breakthrough in the production method of dentures. Since then, the CAD/CAM technology allows for a computer-aided design and fabrication of artificial teeth. Thus, the tooth which has to be replaced can be designed on the screen and, according to this data, shaped by the milling machine (also see CEREC) With this state of the art technique it is possible to produce highly precise and aesthetical dental crowns, bridges, dental implants and inlays as well as prosthetics.

Today, experts believe that all-ceramic restorations made from zircon (or zirconium) on the basis of CAD/CAM technology (CEREC) are the better solution and should be preferred over porcelain fused to metal crowns dentures.

Please contact us if you have any further questions.
Call us on:  (+34) 96 671 72 36 or send us an email.

Your Englisch speaking dentist in Quesada, Rojales, Torrevieja near Alicante in Spain