• August 1, 2023
  • Dr. Catherine-Anne Walsh

​​Welcome to our comprehensive guide on the different types of dental crowns. Whether you’ve just been told you need a crown or you’re simply exploring options to enhance your smile, we’re here to help you understand the choices available.

From the aesthetic appeal of porcelain and ceramic crowns to the robust durability of metal variants, we’ll walk you through each type, discuss their pros and cons, and even offer some tips on maintaining your crown for years to come.

Understanding Dental Crowns

Dental crowns serve as a protective shield for natural teeth that have been compromised due to decay, disease, or injury.

What are Dental Crowns?

A dental crown is a tooth-shaped cap placed over a damaged tooth to restore its shape, size, and strength. This procedure also improves the tooth’s appearance. The crown, when cemented into place, fully encases the visible portion of the tooth lying above and at the gum line.

Why Might You Need a Dental Crown?

Dental crowns are necessary in cases of extensive decay or damage that cannot be repaired with a filling or other restorative dental procedures. They are also used following root canal treatment to strengthen a weak tooth or used on top of a dental implant to replace missing teeth. Additionally, crowns can be employed to improve the aesthetics of discoloured or misshapen teeth.

The Process of Getting a Dental Crown

The dental crown procedure usually takes place over two separate dentist visits. The first appointment involves examining and preparing the tooth, followed by placing a temporary crown to protect the tooth until the permanent crown is ready. The second visit is to cement the permanent crown in place.

types of dental crowns

A dental crown is a tooth-shaped cap placed over a damaged tooth to restore its shape, size, strength and appearance.

Different Types of Dental Crowns

There are different types of dental crowns used in modern dentistry. The ideal choice depends on the patient’s specific condition and preference.

Metal Crowns – Advantages and Disadvantages

Metal crowns, including gold crowns and base metal alloy crowns, are known for their durability and long lifespan. They withstand biting and chewing forces well and require minimal tooth preparation. However, due to their metallic colour, they are more noticeable and are generally used for back teeth.

Porcelain-Fused-to-Metal Crowns (PFM Crowns) – Advantages and Disadvantages

Porcelain fused to metal crowns offer a natural appearance as they can be colour-matched to the adjacent teeth. However, sometimes the metal under the crown’s porcelain cap can show through as a dark line, especially at the gum line. Over time, the porcelain part of the crown may also wear down the opposing teeth more than metal or resin crowns.

All-Ceramic or All-Porcelain Crowns – Advantages and Disadvantages

All ceramic crowns and all porcelain crowns provide the best natural colour match of all types, making them an excellent choice for front teeth. They are also a good alternative for people with metal allergies. However, they are not as strong as metal crowns and might wear down the opposing teeth a little more than metal or resin crowns.

Zirconia Crowns – Advantages and Disadvantages

Zirconia crowns are known for their superior strength, natural appearance, and biocompatibility. They resist chipping and cracking and require minimal tooth preparation. Zirconia can also be colour-matched to your teeth, providing a seamless look. However, similar to ceramic dental crowns, they may wear the opposing teeth more than metal crowns.

Resin Crowns – Advantages and Disadvantages

Resin crowns are the most affordable option among different types of dental crowns. They can be colour-matched to your natural teeth, providing a good aesthetic outcome. However, they are prone to fractures and wear over time, making them less durable than other crown types.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Dental Crown

Selecting the right dental crown involves understanding various factors, from the crown’s durability to its impact on surrounding teeth.

Durability and Lifespan

Consider the durability of the material. For instance, metal crowns, including gold crowns and stainless steel crowns, are highly durable, while resin crowns are less so.

Aesthetic Considerations

For front teeth, you might want to choose porcelain, ceramic, or zirconia crowns as they provide a natural appearance. Emax crowns, a type of all-ceramic crown, are especially known for their aesthetic quality.

How Much Do Dental Crowns Cost?

The cost can vary significantly based on the material used. While porcelain and zirconia crowns offer excellent aesthetics, they tend to be more expensive than metal or resin crowns.

Your Dental History and Current Dental Health

Discuss your dental history with your dentist. If you have a history of breaking or grinding teeth, a durable option like a metal or zirconia crown might be best. If you have a weak tooth, a crown that requires minimal tooth preparation is desirable.

Allergies to Certain Materials

For patients with metal allergies, all-ceramic or all-porcelain crowns, or those made of gold, are typically the best choices.

types of dental crowns

Daily cleaning of your crowns is essential, just like with your natural teeth.

Proper Care for Your Dental Crown

With proper care, dental crowns can last many years. Daily cleaning of your crowns is crucial, just like with your natural teeth. Brush and floss regularly to prevent tooth decay around the crown. Regular check-ups will also allow your dentist to monitor the crown and the underlying natural tooth structure.

Conclusion: Making the Best Decision for Your Smile

Choosing the right dental crown can restore the function of a damaged tooth and improve your smile. Every type of dental crown has its pros and cons. Weighing them can help you make an informed decision.

By restoring your damaged or decayed teeth with the appropriate dental crowns, you can achieve a healthy and beautiful smile, enhancing your overall oral health and confidence.

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Below you can find our FAQs about different types of dental crowns. Contact us for more information about the procedure, or use the online form above to book an appointment.

What type of dental crown is best?

The “best” type of dental crown depends on your specific dental needs and personal preferences. If you want a crown that matches your natural tooth colour, porcelain or ceramic crowns are excellent options. If durability is a key factor, metal crowns might be the best. It’s crucial to discuss these factors with your dentist.

What type of crown lasts the longest?

Metal crowns, particularly those made from gold or other alloys, typically last the longest. They’re highly resistant to wear and tear, making them a suitable choice for restoring broken or fractured teeth. Their long-lasting nature and minimal impact on the entire tooth structure make them a popular choice.

What is the most expensive type of dental crown?

Generally, all-ceramic and porcelain crowns tend to be the most expensive due to their high aesthetic quality and the advanced technology used to create them. These types of crowns provide a close match to the natural tooth colour, making them a preferred choice for visible teeth.

Are dental crowns noticeable?

Modern dental crowns, particularly ceramic and porcelain crowns, are designed to blend in seamlessly with your natural teeth. These types of crowns can be colour-matched to your existing teeth, making them less noticeable. Metal crowns, however, can be more visible, particularly gold crowns.

What should I do if my crown becomes loose or falls off?

If your crown becomes loose or falls off, it’s crucial to contact your dentist right away. It might be possible to re-cement the crown back into place. If you’ve recovered the fallen crown, keep it safe to show your dentist. Meanwhile, temporary crowns can be used to protect the tooth.

Can a dental crown be used to improve the appearance of my teeth?

Yes, dental crowns can significantly improve the appearance of teeth. Whether you’re dealing with discoloured, misshapen, or broken teeth, a tooth crown can restore your tooth to its normal shape and size, enhancing your overall smile and appearance.

How often should I get my dental crown checked?

Dental crowns should be checked during your regular dental visits, which typically occur every six months. However, if you’re experiencing problems with your crown, such as discomfort or a loose fit, schedule an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible to prevent further complications.

Please note that any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.

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Dr. Catherine-Anne Walsh
About The Author

Dr. Catherine-Anne Walsh

Catherine-Anne is a New Zealand-qualified dentist. She holds a Masters Degree in Public Health from Sydney University and she has a broad range of experiences from working in both the public and private sector.


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