Can I get a 100% porcelain crown/tooth if I am missing a tooth?

I know that usually when people get an all-porcelain crown, their existing tooth must be filed down, and the porcelain crown is bonded on top. However, I am missing a tooth, so there would be nothing to bond/glue it to. The dentist suggested a PFM or metal tooth, however I want a 100% porcelain one. (I know this is the most fragile, and I’m willing to take that risk of it chipping). So, is it even possible to have an all-porcelain tooth with no real tooth underneath?

Thanks, Marc in Tennessee

Dear Marc,

You have two options in replacing a missing tooth with an all porcelain crown. Your first and best option would be a dental implant. Dental implants are made of titanium and are surgically placed in the jawbone to act like the root of a tooth. An abutment is then attached to the implant with a screw in order to attach to the dental crown. Abutments can be made of metal or porcelain. Of course metal is stronger, however there are some very strong porcelain materials out there that are available but at a greater expense. Sometimes there is not enough bone in the jaw for a dental implant so your surgeon may need to add bone which is an extra added expense.

If your mind is set on an all porcelain crown below is a list of some reasons you should consider having the best and strongest porcelain made available to prevent breakage:

  • If you grind your teeth (Learn more about TMJ Disorder)
  • If your in cross bite or have an under bite
  • If your dental treatment is in the back molar region
  • If its common for you to chip other porcelain crowns
  • How translucent and opaque are your adjacent teeth
  • What teeth are opposing the new porcelain dental implant

Your other option would be a three unit dental bridge. A dental bridge is when the teeth adjacent to the missing tooth are prepped and prepared for dental crowns. After the prepping of these two teeth an impression is taken of the area. This impression is sent to the lab where they fabricate a three unit bridge that is cemented in place permanently. This can be made with all porcelain crowns, however once again if your missing tooth is in the back region highly consider having the strongest porcelain dental crowns because you will be using the dental bridge for chewing. Dental Bridges can be less expensive then dental implants. Learn more about a dental bridge vs implant.

We recommend you ask your dentist which option would be best for you. Below are some sample pictures of what a three unit dental bridge looks like in comparison to a  dental implant.

three-unit-bridgedental implant pic

3 Unit Dental Bridge                                  Dental Implant

This post is sponsored by Phoenix dentist Arthur Chal Esthetic and Reconstructive Dentistry.

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