Understanding the Different Types of Dental Crowns

Team General Dentistry, Restorative Dentistry

Do you have a tooth that needs a crown? A crown is used to restore a tooth that is severely decayed, cracked, or damaged in some way. As long as the root of the tooth is still intact and there is enough tooth material left to attach it, a crown is an ideal solution. 

There are different types of crowns made of a variety of materials. Each type has its own unique pros and cons. Deciding which type of crown to get is a decision that should be made with the help of your dentist. Here are the different options.


Ceramic/Porcelain


The most common type of crown is ceramic. Porcelain is the specific type of ceramic used in dental crowns. It is used because it is strong, durable, stain-resistant, and looks very similar to natural tooth material. If you need to have a tooth restored that is at or near the front of your mouth where it is highly visible, a porcelain crown is the most realistic looking option.


Porcelain Fused to Metal


Some crowns are made of porcelain and metal. The base of the crown that connects to the existing tooth material is metal covered with porcelain for a more natural look. The advantages to porcelain fused metal crowns are their durability and lower cost. However, the only drawback is that the metal at the base of the crown can sometimes show up as a dark border near the gum line. This may not matter if you are getting a crown placed on a back tooth that won’t show, but on a front tooth it can deter from the natural appearance.


Gold Alloys


A gold alloy crown is made of a mixture of metals including gold. Gold alloys are some of the strongest crowns that last a long time. The only deterrent for some patients is that they are not interested in the gold tooth look. Gold alloys are most often used on back molars for this reason, and because of their bite strength. Since the molars bear the brunt of the force when you chew, a strong crown is necessary.


Base Metal Alloys


A crown made of base metal alloy includes other metals that form a strong surface. These are the silver-looking crowns you see. As with gold, these are often used on the back molars because of their appearance and strength.


What Does the Crown Placement Procedure Entail?


The process of getting fitted for a crown takes place over a few different appointments. The first is a consultation to determine if you are an ideal candidate for a crown. This requires an examination of the existing tooth and sometimes an X-Ray to determine if the root of the tooth is still in good condition. 

If the root is intact and can be saved, the next step is to take impressions of the teeth to create the crown. The size, shape, and color of the existing tooth and surrounding teeth are the basis for the creation of the crown. 

Once the crown is created it can be fitted. As long as the crown fits properly and looks natural, it can be permanently placed. The existing tooth must be shaved down so that the crown can fit over the top. It is then cemented into place for a solid hold that will look and function like a natural tooth.


Benefits of Dental Crowns


When a tooth is damaged beyond repair, a crown is a way to restore it. There are many benefits to getting a dental crown, such as:

  • Preserve the root. If the root of the tooth is still in good health, a crown allows you to keep it solidly in place. This helps to preserve the jaw bone as well. 
  • Costs less than a dental Implant. When the root cannot be preserved, a dental implant is the next replacement option. An implant is an artificial tooth root with a crown attached to the top. It is much more expensive than a crown, so preserving the root you have is the best option.
  • Can last for 15 years or more. A crown lasts an average of 5 to 15 years, but many patients find that their crown lasts much longer.

Find Out if You’re an Ideal Candidate for a Crown at Total Dental Care


If you have a tooth that is cracked or requires a significant filling, a crown may be in your best interest. Total Dental Care can save your existing tooth and root by covering it with a crown made of ceramic, porcelain fused to metal, gold alloy, or metal alloy. We will help you determine which type would be best for you. 

Call 240-813-9111 today to schedule a consultation or request an appointment. We look forward to restoring your smile with the help of a dental crown.