Porcelain used by a dental technician to create lifelike crowns and bridges for the dentist.
The dentist will usually specify a shade of porcelain, corresponding to a set of pots in the lab containing the porcelain powder. A common shade system used is the Vita guide. The powder corresponding to the dentine base is mixed with water, and then fired. Further layers are built up to mimic the natural translucency of the enamel of the tooth. Sometimes the porcelain is fused to a semi-precious metal or precious metal such as gold, for extra strength. Newer systems use an alumino-silicate core that gives increased strength. Porcelain systems such as Empress (tm), and Procera are gaining in poularity among today dentists.