What are porcelain fused to metal crown (PFM crown)?

PFM crowns are fixed prosthetic restorations that are permanently cemented to the abutment teeth. They consist of a metal base (cap) and ceramics that are baked in layers on a metal base. They are indicated in cases when the tooth cannot be adequately reconstructed with a filling. They can  also be done in situations when it is necessary to make up for one or more lost teeth, when we are talking about a PFM bridge.

PFM crowns were used much more in the past than today. The reason for that is the development of more precise, perfect and in every sense superior systems such as all ceramic crowns. However, there are still certain situations in which PFM crowns are made.

PFM crowns are used to replace a tooth that has been destroyed or broken by caries, and mainly in lateral teeth. It is considered that their aesthetic appearance is worse than the appearance of all ceramic crowns and they are less often used on the front teeth. However, this claim should be taken with a grain of salt because the appearance of the crown mostly depends on the good coordination of the work of the dentist and the dental technician.

In the Cvjetković office, such cooperation is at an enviable level. Thanks to the dedication of our team and the manual skills of our dental technicians, we are able to make, not only quality, but also highly aesthetic PFM crowns.

Porcelain fused to metal crown – composition, advantages and disadvantages

These crowns consist of a metal base and ceramics. The metal base is usually cobalt – chromium alloy without the presence of nickel and it is gray. We will not hide the information that less than 1% of people are allergic to metal bases, so an all ceramic crown that is completely biocompatible is more often used.

When it comes to the good sides of PFM crowns, it is certainly their longevity and function. Aesthetics can be their good side but only in the hands of a skilled and experienced dental team.

The disadvantage of PFM crowns could be reflected in the fact that it is necessary to grind the teeth more extensively than is the case with all ceramic systems.

Gold or titanium can also be used as a metal base. All materials are durable and resistant to pressure. Gold has proven to be one of the best materials for making such crowns, both for the base and for the entire full gold crown. The gold alloy is resistant to wear and does not wear the teeth of the opposite jaw with which it is in contact during chewing. This material is very biocompatible with gum tissue.

On the prepared metal base, the dental technician bakes the ceramics in layers, taking into account the color and shape of the future crown. The ceramic completely covers the gray or yellow color of the metal base so that it is not visible, and the crown has a white color. Finished PFM crowns have the size, color and shape of natural teeth.

PFM crowns – how long does it take to make?

In order to place crowns, it is necessary to grind natural teeth beforehand. The process of grinding teeth can be unpleasant, but in our office this job is approached very professionally and with anesthesia, so there is no reason to worry. The time required for grinding teeth is different and depends on the number of teeth, the necessary prior preparation or treatment of the teeth, your available time and mood. After grinding, you immediately get temporary crowns that are beautiful and with which you eat normally and lead a social life. Temporary crowns on the teeth remain until the definitive crowns are completed.

The next stage is analog or digital printing of brushed teeth. Analog printing is done using spoons and impression masses that are put into the mouth. Today, instead of bulky and uncomfortable spoons, we use intraoral scanners, which is much more precise and pleasant for patients. We send the impression or scanner image to the dental laboratory where the production of the PFM crown begins. The made crown is tested in the mouth to check the precision of making, function and aesthetics. The crown is then sent back to the dental laboratory for finishing or correction. After it is completely finished, the crown is cemented in the patient’s mouth.

The whole process of making a PFM crown takes several days (for one) and a little longer if there are more crowns to make.

How to maintain PFM crowns?

There is no special difference in the maintenance of crowns in relation to the maintenance of natural teeth. It is necessary to brush your teeth regularly, use dental floss and interdental brushes. If you care about the hygiene of your teeth and you have good habits, do not worry about the length of the crown. It can last up to 20 years.

Of course, regular dental checkups are also necessary to ensure good health of the gums and other teeth.