A dental crown is a protective cap that goes over a tooth that is heavily damaged or decayed. Crowns may also be used to anchor a dental bridge or to improve the cosmetic appearance of a tooth that does not look its best. There are numerous types of dental crowns, each with its own benefits and drawbacks. Here is what you need to know.
Ceramic crowns are the most natural in appearance. They are constructed of high-quality dental porcelain that can be color-matched to the existing teeth. Particularly desirable for front teeth due to their aesthetics, ceramic crowns are strong and durable enough to be placed throughout the mouth. If appearance is a primary concern, we strongly recommend using ceramic crowns for all damaged teeth.
Porcelain Fused to Metal
Slightly stronger than ceramic crowns due to their metal understructure, porcelain fused to metal crowns are especially suited to teeth that take the forces of biting and chewing. They can be color-matched to the natural teeth, but the metal frame may create a dark line along the gums. Therefore, they are not ideal for front teeth, but are an excellent solution for teeth further back in the mouth.
Gold alloy crowns are highly durable, with little risk for chipping or breaking. They do not require the removal of as much tooth structure as porcelain or porcelain fused to metal crowns, and they are less damaging to the neighboring teeth. This makes them ideal for back teeth, especially in people who grind or clench their teeth. Due to aesthetics, they are rarely placed on front teeth, although some people prefer their unique look.
Base Metal Alloys
Base metal alloy crowns are corrosion resistant and extremely strong. This makes them ideal for heavily damaged back teeth. Due to their very unattractive appearance, though, base metal alloys are almost never placed further forward in the mouth.
Which type of crown to select is an extremely individualized decision. Some people have more than one type of crown in different parts of their mouth. In some rare cases, there may be a health-related reason for us to steer you toward a particular type of crown. For the most part, though, we will present your options and help you choose the crown that best meets your needs, goals, and budget.