Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Getting a tooth cap or crown done? Know your options...

While we all love Jack Sparrow for his morbid ways and enticing smile, how many of us are willing to woo the damsels with metal caps on our teeth? Unless ofcourse, as Jack says to Elizabeth, "One word love: curiosity.... You want to see what it's like."

  In general, there are four types of caps or crowns that can be made for your tooth:

Metal crowns
  1. Metal cap: This is a low cost, high strength option, but keep cosmetics out of the need here. The cap is generally grayish to silver in color, but can also be made in gold - provided you are willing to pay for your ostentatious choice. Now losing its appeal to ceramics, many pirates who have sailed with Jack Sparrow still demand it; and many dentists - because of its proven longevity.
  2. Metal - Ceramic cap: This type of crown has metal inside for strength with tooth colored ceramic or porcelain fused to the metal on the outside. These types of crowns have been in use since the 1950's and have been a favorite with dentists and patients for their reasonable cost and cosmetics. The cosmetics are impaired by the darkness of metal showing at the margins, through the cap itself or when the overlying ceramic gets chipped or worn away with time.

    Metal - Ceramic Crowns
  3. Cosmetic Ceramic cap: Full Ceramics, though relatively new, are set to surpass the use of metal - ceramic crowns. The major reason for this is their natural tooth-like appearance, and the ability to maintain that cosmetic value over time. The cost is definitely more than metal - ceramic cap, but then you cannot 'put a cap' on beauty. The only question here is of their strength and longevity. The best brand in this class of dental crown materials, as of today, is IPS E.max.
    IPS E.max: High on Cosmetics
  4. Zirconia Ceramic cap: There is a wide range of materials in full ceramics used today in dentistry. As a universal rule, whenever the material is stronger, it is less cosmetic in terms of giving you the natural tooth appearance. Zirconia crowns are the strongest (and costliest) of all materials, but their natural appearance will be less than the cosmetic ceramic crowns like IPS E.max (however, still better than metal - ceramic caps). The most common brands - Lava and Bruxzir warranty their crowns, but the warranty may not cover all possible problems that can arise with the capped tooth.
'The Hammer Test' claimed by Bruxzir
Lava crowns and bridges

  So where does this leave you? In today's world where people are changing their smartphones and jobs with every new opportunity; where brands are endorsing their added features more than the standards of originality; it is hardly surprising that full ceramic crown is the rising trend. Is that a wise choice? While there is no substitute for the dentist's judgement for what is best for you, you must make your priorities clear to the dentist when you get a cap or crown done for your tooth.The best strength and cosmetics are the pride of zirconia crowns; while the best compromise of strength, cost and cosmetics lies with metal - ceramic caps. However, if cosmetics is what matters the most, for that beautiful, sparkling smile - there is nothing like IPS E-max. 

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