Dental Porcelain

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Dr Anish Patel 27th Novemeber, 2013
Dental Porcelain


Excellent in dentistry is only possible with equally artistic technicians utilising the best materials for the case. Often older materials in the right hands can produce results that surpass modern computer milled crowns and veneers. Here we choose not to use such machines and firmly believe that the "perosonal touch" is what our patients seek.

At the practice we use technicians who share our passion for excellence in the field of dentistry, and see their work as a vehicle to carry their artistic flare. Whether you are receiving one crown or ten, rest assured we will listen to your every request and choose the best materials and technician for the case.

Below we have outined the ceramic materials used in dentistry. We will take you through how they differ which will hopefully give you an idea of how a crown is made after the preparation and impression of the teeth at the dentist.

Types of porcelain used for crowns and veneers at the practice.

Glass Ceramics

  • Feldspathic
    The traditional feldspathic porcelain used by many dentists, is a monolithic (one layer or no supporting base) porcelain ideal for aesthetically demanding cases where the is little or no risk from the bite of a patient as they are the weakest of all ceramics when flexing. Ideal for veneers where little preparation is done for a highly translucent result. These ceramics are typically crafed using powder and liquid by hand.

Glass-Cermaics with Fillers

It is the same glass monolithic porcelain but filled with particles for strength.

  • Leucite-Reinforced (e.g Empress)
    These restorations can be produced with the chracteristics of natural teeth. Empress is a two-layer system, combining a base coping of medium strength "pressed" ceramic with a glass layer that is hand-stacked ontop of the coping. Due it strength charateristics it should not be used in cases where the is a high risk from grinding/clenching.
  • Lithium-Disilicate (e.g IPS e.max press, IPS e.max CAD)
    E.max as above is a pressed coping and hand stacked porcelain (two layer system) with better strength and better translucent properties than Empress. We use e.max in cases where we do want to compromise strength for aesthetics. Due to new techniques we can fabricate veneers as thin as 0.2mm, whereas with conventional feldspathic porcelain we would need to prepare teeth to 0.5mm to achieve the same strength.
    E.max can also be fabricated as a single layer with E.max HT, a monolithic coping milled as one piece and usful for producing natural result in those that grind and clench heavily.
  • Glass-Infiltrated(e.g In-Ceram )
    The strongest of the pressed core ceramics as it infused with glass is also an older material.Its use is seldom due to its poorer aesthetic properties.

Glass-Free Ceramics, Polycrystalline

  • Alumina Core (e.g Procera Aluminia)
    A two layer crown made from an aluminium oxide coping which is machined with a computer and stacked with a superficial layer of feldspathic porcelain. Due to whiteness of the coping we have to prepare the teeth heavier allowing for a thicker layer pf porcelain to mask the white. The are the second strongest material and can look pleasing but really only used if a heavy preparation is suitable.
  • Zirconia Core(e.g Procera Zirconia, IPS E.max Zir CAD, Lava Zirconia)
    Offer a stronger alternative to Procera crowns with a two layer system (milled coping with veneered porcelain). They are ideal when strength is the main concern, e.g heavy grinders, anterior bridges (porcelain fused to metal posterior bridges are still the goldstandard when aesthetics is not a concern), or implant abutments. They should never be used for adhesive dentistry (veneers) as zirconium has no bonding capability.

Cerac In-Surgery crowns

Within the UK there are many surgeries who offer these in surgery machine milled crowns to their patients. They work by cutting out the technician as the crown is made in the surgery while you wait. A cerac crown is a monolithic block (one colour) with added surface stains. We all know that no tooth is just one shade and while this can offer the solution some patients are looking for, we choose to create crowns based around the desires of our patients, and our patients demand perfection from a human touch. The subtle white flecks and tranlucent tips are hard to recreate with a computer. All our crowns are made by a registered dental technician.

"Slight imperfection, is perfection."

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