Making Dental Crowns

We all like to know how things work and how things are made, especially if those things are being placed in our mouths for a lifetime.ᅠ The following is a description of how dental crowns are made in a standard orthodontic laboratory.

Here's how it works: First, dentists send specifications of the item to be fabricated along with an impression or mold of a patient's mouth or teeth. Dental technicians then create a model of the patient's mouth by pouring plaster into the impression and allowing it to set. Next, they place the model on an apparatus that serves to mimic the bite and movement of a patient's jaw.

The model serves as the basis of dental crown. Technicians examine the model, noting the size and shape of the adjacent teeth, as well as gaps within the gum line. Based on these observations and the dentist's specifications, technicians' build and shape a wax tooth or teeth model, using small hand instruments called wax spatulas and wax carvers.

In small laboratories technicians perform all stages of the work on a variety of products. In larger laboratories they usually specialize in one kind of appliance or one part of the manufacturing process

They use this wax model to cast the metal framework for the dental crowns. They then apply porcelain layers to these metal frames, arriving at the precise shape and color of a tooth. They bake their porcelain handiwork in a furnace and further adjust shape and color, grinding and adding porcelain to achieve a sealed finish.

If this all sounds a bit like traditional artistic sculpting, it should. Dental technicians are very much artists whose work must appear as close to natural as possible.

Specific tasks include:

ᅠᅠᅠ * Making dental appliances
ᅠᅠᅠ * Molding wax around models of teeth and forming contours of gums to verify that upper and lower dentures fit together
ᅠᅠᅠ * Selecting and mounting replacement teeth using color charts and tooth illustrations
ᅠᅠᅠ * Curing denture plastic in pressure pots or ovens
ᅠᅠᅠ * Polishing metal, plastic, and porcelain surfaces to the specified finish
ᅠᅠᅠ * Bending and soldering gold and platinum wire to construct wire frames for dentures
ᅠᅠᅠ * Bending and soldering stainless steel wire to make braces, retainers, and other orthodontic and pedodontic appliances

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