crowns1When the exterior of a tooth endures significant damage due to decay (cavities) or injury, a dental crown is the ideal restorative treatment. The installation of a crown replaces the entire exterior structure of a tooth, preventing total tooth loss and preserving the tooth.

At Dr. Brian J. Hockel’s office we use 3 different types of crowns. 

Depending on the material and the design of your restoration, a crown can provide one or more of the following benefits:

  1. It can be made to look very natural
  2. It can be designed to preserve as much of your tooth as possible
  3. Crowns can be made to be very durable
  4. Crowns can match the wear compatibility of your natural teeth.

Let us know what the most important benefit(s) are to you, and we’ll help you choose the best type of crown for you.

Depending on your needs and desires, we may recommend crowns made from the following materials:

  • PFM crowns are best for severely decayed or injured teeth that endure high amounts of stress. Standing for “Porcelain-Fused-to-Metal,” a PFM crown is white, strong and durable.  This strength comes from a thin precious metal covering which is designed to fit over the tooth. Porcelain is fused to that metal shell in a high-heat furnace, and the porcelain is matched in color to look just like your remaining natural teeth.  For maximum strength, the white gold metal layer can even be made to include part of the biting surface.
    • Typical PFM benefits: Strength, longevity, good esthetics
  • Metal-free APC crowns are made entirely of quality dental porcelain. These crowns are custom-made in shape and color to your existing teeth, making them ideal for teeth in highly visible areas, such as the front teeth. APC stands for “All-Porcelain Crown.”  These crowns are ideal for optimal esthetics, and for patients with a metal allergy.  Our lab, Hockel Dental Lab, fabricates APCs for our patients.
    • Typical APC benefits: Best esthetics
  • Gold Crowns have become a lost art in many offices, but they are still an option for those who desire quality in areas of the mouth that won’t be a cosmetic concern.  Dr. Hockel is a master, both as a technician and as a doctor, of gold tooth restorations.  His brother Steve makes all our gold crowns on-site.
    • Typical benefits of gold: Preservation of tooth structure, longevity, wear compatibility.


What can I expect from a crown procedure?

Whether you need a PFM or metal-free crown, any installation of a crown typically requires two visits to our office. At the first visit, the tooth is prepared by removing damaged areas or any decay. Then an impression of the tooth and bite are made that the lab will use in handcrafting your crown. During this time, you will wear a temporary restoration that is placed over the tooth, protecting it until your permanent crown is ready. At the second visit, the permanent crown is installed by permanently bonding it over your tooth.

We typically recommend crowns in the following cases:

  • Following a root canal procedure
  • To repair a tooth that is broken or fractured
  • To repair a misshapen, brittle, short or “weak” tooth
  • To repair damage caused by a metal filling that has failed or broken
  • To treat a large area of tooth decay

For more information about the benefits of the hand-crafted dental crowns created by our dentists here at Life Dental & Orthodontics and Steve Hockel of Hockel Dental Lab for our patients in Walnut Creek, Clayton, Concord, Lafayette, the San Francisco East Bay Area, and beyond, please contact us at (925) 934-3434.

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