PFM or porcelain-fused-to-metal restorations have been a restorative dentistry standard for more than 30 years and not without good reason. They’re versatile, they’re resilient, and above all they’re aesthetic, and it’s this perfect balance of all three that has made them a favorite among both dentists and patients.
So what exactly are they?
PFM restorations are in effect a hybrid of all-metal and all-porcelain crowns because they’re made from both. They contain a base metal which is typically nickel, chrome, or beryllium but it can also be palladium, platinum, or even gold. The metal creates a thin thimble-like cap that sits over the tooth. Dental porcelain is then fused over the metal cap to form the tooth-like shape which in turn gives it its natural appearance. Together they serve to provide a long-lasting durability coupled with a life-like appearance.
PFM dental crowns are utilized for a number of reasons. They can be used to:
Restore and protect a tooth after endodontic (root canal) treatment
Restore a tooth that’s too damaged to take a filling
Support the framework (as an anchor) for a dental bridge
Disguise or hide teeth that have ingrained staining that can’t be whitened by tooth whitening procedures.
Am I a candidate for porcelain-fused-to-metal restorations?
Anyone looking for a strong, but aesthetically appealing crowns or bridge should consider a PFM restoration. It’s also the ideal restoration for those who suffer from teeth grinding (bruxism) as it provides a durable restoration where conversely, all ceramic crowns may suffer.
What should I expect when I go for my PFM fitting?
The first visit is usually the preparation visit. This means that Dr Akinwande will prepare the tooth in order for it to take the PFM crown. Firstly after numbing the area the tooth is shaped along the chewing surface and sides to make room in the mouth for the new crown. Next after reshaping, Dr Akinwande will make an impression of the tooth using a putty-like substance to ensure a perfect fit and bite. The impressions are sent off to the dental lab, where the PFM restoration will be fabricated. The final part of this initial visit will be to make and fit a provisional dental crown to protect the reshaped tooth. Normally these are made of acrylic and are held in place using temporary bonding materials.
During the second and final visit the temporary crown is removed and the fit and color of the permanent crown is checked. Once everything is okay the PFM restoration is permanently cemented into position.
What about after-care?
Once a permanent PFM crown is fitted a patient should be able to eat normally, although some consideration should be made when looking to eat foodstuffs such as ice and/or hard candy. In addition normal brushing and flossing should be resumed. Typically a well cared for, well-maintained, PFM restoration can last several decades.
If you’d like to find out more about PFM restorations or dental crowns in general; or if you have a missing or damaged tooth that needs attention, contact Dr Akinwande and her experienced team on (314) 469 6429. Remember you shouldn’t have to endure a less than perfect smile so take the first steps towards restoring it right now.