A dental crown is a restorative and sometimes cosmetic procedure. Often called a cap, a crown is an artificial tooth that fits over the existing tooth to fix a cracked, broken, or severely decayed tooth. There are different types of crowns made of different materials. Choosing the right type of crown for you depends on your individual needs and the recommendation of your dentist.
If you’re in need of a dental crown, here are the different types and the pros and cons of each to help you decide which would best suit you.
How Does a Dental Crown Work?
Before you can fully understand the pros and cons of the different types of crowns, it’s important to understand what a crown procedure entails. When a tooth is cracked, broken, or decayed beyond what a composite filling can restore, a crown can still save the tooth. During the procedure the existing tooth is shaved down to remove the damaged part, leaving the tooth root intact. The crown is then cemented to the remaining portion of the tooth. The crown protects what is left of the tooth and the root so that it can function properly.
- Pros: Ceramic crowns look the most like your natural teeth. Ceramic crowns can be made the exact color and shape of your existing teeth so that they blend in and look very natural. These are most often used for teeth in the front of your mouth that are very visible. Ceramic is also very strong and sturdy.
- Cons: Ceramic is not quite as strong as porcelain fused to metal crowns.
Porcelain Fused to Metal
- Pros: Crowns made of porcelain fused to metal offer you the best combination of strength and natural look. The strength of the metal gives you the bite power and the durability over time while the porcelain can be made to match your natural tooth color.
- Cons: Sometimes the metal portion of the crown can be visible. It appears as a dark band right along the gum line, which compromises the natural look. Also, the porcelain can sometimes chip away or separate from the metal.
- Pros: Metal and metal alloys, such as gold, are the strongest crown material. They are less susceptible to chipping and wearing down. Gold and other metal alloy crowns are easier to remove when necessary. They are also ideal for patients who grind their teeth.
- Cons: Metal doesn’t look as natural as ceramic or porcelain, making them more suitable for back teeth (depending on your personal preference). They also tend to be more expensive than other types of crowns because of the value of the metal being used.
Base Metal Alloys
- Pros: Metal alloys have the same advantages as gold alloys. They are the strongest crown material, not as likely to chip or wear, and are easier to remove. They resist corrosion and are more useful when there is less salvageable tooth material available.
- Cons: Metal alloys do not resemble natural teeth, making them look obviously artificial. They are best used for back teeth for this reason and because the molars bear the brunt of the chewing and grinding force.
How to Decide Which Type to Get
Now that you know the pros and cons of the main types of dental crowns, it should be easier to decide which type you should get. Consider your top priorities when it comes to your dental crown. If you care most about:
- Cost. If you are most concerned about how much the crown will cost, get a ceramic crown or a porcelain fused to metal crown. These cost less than the metal alloys, especially gold.
- Appearance. If your biggest concern is how your crown will look, choose a ceramic crown because it offers the most natural appearance.
- Strength. If you want the strongest crown that will hold up to biting and grinding, choose a metal alloy of some type, either gold or another metal.
Not everyone will choose the same type of crown and there is no one type of crown that is best for everyone. It is always important to take your dentist’s recommendation into consideration, as they have placed many different types of crowns and have a better idea of how they look and perform over time.
Have Your Choice of Dental Crowns at Smile Studio 87
Not every dentist offers a range of dental crown options. But at Smile Studio 87 we offer ceramic, porcelain fused to metal, gold alloy, and other metal alloy. You and your dentist can discuss your options and your biggest priorities when it comes to your crown to fit you with the best type for you.