So, you need a crown. But what type of crown is right for me?

Posted on Oct 15, 2014 by Jeffrey S. Kearney DDS

Types Of Crowns

The first type of crown we will be discussing is an all metal crown. As it's name indicates, an all metal crown is a solid piece of metal.  All metal crowns are a mixture of mostly gold and other precious metals, giving this crown a yellow gold appearance.  Gold crowns have superior strength and are a great option for a patient where cosmetics are not a concern but strength is needed.  Another benefit to a metal crown is they are the least abrasive to opposing teeth. And because the crown is one solid piece of metal, this type of crown continues to be strong even when it is thin.  That means less tooth removal is required to make room for this crown.

Disadvantages of Metal Crowns

The disadvantages to a metal crown is in its appearance.  Cosmetically, most patients would prefer to keep a natural look to their smiles so this type of crown is not ideal for front teeth, or for the cosmetically conscious patient.  Another disadvantage to a gold crown is the cost.  Because an all metal crown is typically 60% gold, this is the most expensive option available. But if service and longevity are your highest concerns, then this crown is right for you.

All Ceramic Crowns

The second type of crown we will consider is an all ceramic crown, also referred to as an all porcelain crown.  The greatest benefit to an all porcelain crown is its superior cosmetics.  An all porcelain crown is able to reflect light as a natural tooth would, giving this type of crown an very natural appearance.  This crown is ideal for front teeth, and is also a great option for a cosmetic conscious patient who would prefer the most natural appearance to their posterior crowns.   Although an all metal crown is superior in strength,  advances in the porcelain materials are resulting in extremely strong and durable crowns. An all porcelain crown does not require expensive metals so this is a less expensive option for a patient where cost is a concern.

Porcelain Fused To Metal Crown

The final crown option is a porcelain fused to metal crown. These crowns can be thought of as a hybrid of the metal and porcelain crowns.  They are made with a thin layer of metal covering the prepared  tooth and then a thicker porcelain layer providing the cosmetics and shape of the overall tooth.  For many years, these crowns were the standard "go to" crown for almost all situations.  Porcelain fused to metal crowns have a long track record of great service. When we consider the disadvantages to this type of crown, it is in the joining of two materials together.  For patients that are harder on their teeth, there is a small but distinct chance of breaking the porcelain off the metal under-layer.  This does not always cause the crown to loose its function but there are no reliable ways to repair this type of damage and replacing the crown is the only option to restore full function.  Another disadvantage to a porcelain fused to metal crown is if the metal edge were to become visible.  Patients notice this as "a dark line" on the edge of their crown. While preparing the tooth for this particular type of crown, the edge of the crown is typically hidden under the gum line. Over time, that edge may become visible because of gum recession making this crown a less desirable option.  Although the crown may still be providing excellent function and strength, some patients can't help but dislike this newly visible dark edge of their crowns and wish to replace them.

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Armed with knowledge about each type of crown you are now ready to discuss and choose which crown is best for you. Call or contact us today!