Traditionally, prosthodontic crowns were comprised of porcelain fused to metal. This solid combination is still used by many dental professionals as a simple, cost effective option. More recently however, the introduction of fully ceramic Lava® crowns have changed the aesthetic appearance of many smiles. Lava® crowns function in the same way as traditional crowns, but their fully ceramic composition means that the restoration looks more natural.
Dental crowns are usually placed to strengthen an injured tooth. All dental professionals agree that when possible, it is advantageous to restore a natural tooth rather than replace it with a prosthetic alternative. Lava® crowns are precision-engineered to create a beautiful fit and restore full functionality to the injured tooth.
Why might a Lava® crown be necessary?
Unlike the majority of the rest of the body, the teeth do not have extensive healing capabilities. Therefore, once the enamel (or surface) of the tooth is injured in some manner, it does not have the ability to heal itself. Dental crowns are placed to stabilize damaged teeth and permanently prevent the propagation of further damage. Enamel may be injured by trauma, bacterial infections or decay. Crowns are often used to seal teeth after root canal therapy.
Lava® crowns have a few advantages over the porcelain-fused-to-metal (PFM) alternative, including:
- No metal base – The partially ceramic traditional crowns do look somewhat natural on top, but an unsightly metal band still exists near the base of the tooth. Lava® crowns eliminate the metal aspect.
- Custom fitting – Highly skilled technicians create custom Lava® crowns to ensure that a perfect fit is achieved.
What is involved in getting a Lava® crown?
Placing a crown is a common and straightforward procedure that dental professionals perform on a regular basis. X-rays and impressions are taken and a thorough examination is conducted prior to treatment. It is important for the dental professionals to assess the health of adjacent teeth and gums, to ensure that there are no underlying issues.
A local anesthetic is administered while the tooth is being shaped. The shaping is necessary to ensure that the crown will fit snugly on the tooth. This process is done slowly and carefully to ensure that the soft tissue around the tooth is not damaged. When the tooth is fully prepared, the dental professional creates an accurate mold of the tooth and chooses the porcelain color. A temporary crown is placed while the custom Lava® crown is being created at the laboratory.
At the next appointment, the temporary crown is removed. The inner tooth is thoroughly cleansed to ensure that any bacteria are eliminated. The permanent Lava® crown is affixed to the tooth using luting cement, and a beautiful smile is created.
If you have questions or concerns about Lava® crowns, please contact our office.