H. John Wu, DDS, MS
Family, Cosmetic, and Implant Dentistry
WU Dental, 1919 O’Farrell Street, Suite 1, San Mateo, CA 94403  •  (650) 571-6666    (650) 358-9999 FAX    info@wudental.com
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Most people choose tooth colored crowns these days, especially for the front teeth. These crowns are usually made of porcelain or else will have a veneer of porcelain on their surface (i.e., PFM, or Porcelain-Fused-to-Metal crowns), so they have a white color like the rest of your teeth.

All-porcelain dental crowns
These crowns can possess a translucency that makes them very esthetically pleasing. Although they can be very life like in appearance, the overall strength of all-porcelain dental crowns is somehow less than other types of crowns. While they can be a good choice for front teeth, due to the hefty chewing and biting forces that some patients can generate, all-porcelain dental crowns may not be the best choice for their back teeth.

PFM dental crowns
These are somewhat of a hybrid between metal crowns and porcelain crowns. The dental technician first makes a shell of metal that fits over the tooth. Then porcelain is put on and fused to the metal, giving the crown a white tooth-like appearance.
These crowns are strong enough to withstand heavy biting pressures and at the same time can have an excellent cosmetic appearance. There are some disadvantages associated with porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns however (which no doubt your dentist will try to minimize as much as is possible). They are:
1. While the cosmetic appearance of these crowns can be excellent, they often are not as pleasing aesthetically as all-porcelain dental crowns.
2. The crown's porcelain can chip or break off.
3. The porcelain surface of the crown can create wear (sometimes this wear is significant) on opposing teeth that it bites against.
4. The metal that lies underneath a crown's porcelain layer can sometimes be visualized as a dark line found right at the crown's edge. A dentist will usually try to position this dark edge just underneath the tooth's gum line but if a person's gums recede this dark line can show.

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