Karrinyup Dental Centre

Types of Dental Crowns Unveiled

Karrinyup Dental Centre

Written by:

Dr. Justin Soon

Published on:

Types of Dental Crowns Unveiled

Dental crowns are essential for protecting damaged teeth and improving your smile. This article will help you understand the different types of crowns available, including all-ceramic, metal, porcelain-fused-to-metal, and resin. Each material has its own benefits, indications, aesthetics, durability, and cost.

Choosing the right dental crown can be challenging, but understanding the advantages and limitations of each option can make the decision easier. This guide aims to give you the information needed to confidently discuss crown choices with your dentist.

Read on to learn about the role of dental crowns in oral health and how to choose the right type for your needs.

Summary of The Content

  • Dental crowns, available in materials like all-ceramic, metal, and resin, protect and improve smiles by addressing various dental needs.
  • The choice of material affects the crown’s appearance, durability, and price, making it essential to weigh individual preferences.
  • Crowns protect weakened teeth, restore damaged ones, cover discolouration, and support implants, playing a pivotal role in oral health.
  • Selecting a crown requires considering its material benefits, aesthetics, and cost.
  • All-ceramic crowns are favoured for front teeth due to their natural appearance and compatibility with those with metal sensitivities.
  • Metal crowns offer durability for back teeth, while porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns provide a balance of strength and aesthetics.
  • Resin crowns are an affordable option with pleasing aesthetics, but they wear down quicker and offer less strength.
  • Stainless steel crowns are durable, cost-effective, and often used in paediatric dentistry.

The Role of Dental Crowns in Oral Health

Dental crowns are essential in protecting and improving the structure and appearance of compromised teeth to maintain oral health. They are used for the following:

  • Protecting weak teeth:
    Crowns cover teeth weakened by decay, preventing further damage and preserving the natural tooth structure.
  • Restoring broken teeth:
    When teeth are severely worn down or broken, crowns can restore their shape and functionality.
  • Covering discoloured teeth:
    Teeth that have become discoloured over time can be effectively covered with crowns to match the natural tooth colour and improve the overall smile appearance.
  • Supporting dental implants:
    Crowns are often placed on top of dental implants, which are used to replace missing teeth. Dental crowns offer a natural-looking option that blends seamlessly with neighbouring teeth.
  • Aesthetic improvement:
    Dental crowns can improve the appearance of your smile by blending with the colour and shape of your natural teeth.

To get a dental crown, your tooth is prepared, impressions are taken, and the crown is fitted. There are different dental crown materials available, each with its own benefits and cost. Choosing the right one is important, considering factors like the crown’s location, appearance, and longevity. Talk to your dentist to find the most suitable for you.

Choosing the Right Dental Crown Type

Selecting the appropriate dental crown type presents several challenges for patients, mainly due to the diversity of options and factors to consider. These challenges include:

  • Understanding the different types of crowns:
    Patients often struggle to distinguish between types of dental crowns. These can include porcelain, metal, and composite, making determining which one suits their specific dental needs difficult.
  • Considering the material’s strengths and weaknesses:
    Each has strengths and limitations. They may offer a natural appearance and durability, but they can also wear opposing teeth or require the removal of more tooth structure.
  • Balancing aesthetic appearance with functionality:
    Achieving a natural appearance and colour match with your natural teeth is crucial for many. Yet, it’s essential not to overlook their functional benefits and longevity.
  • Cost concerns:
    The cost of dental crowns can vary significantly based on the material used. It can also depend on the specific procedure requirements, making it challenging for budget-conscious patients.
  • Risk of infection and temporary crown issues:
    The dental crown procedure carries potential risks such as infection or loosening of the crown, particularly during the temporary crown phase.
  • Maintenance and care:
    Crowns made from specific materials, such as porcelain, may require special care or be more prone to damage. This factor can influence the decision-making process when considering different types of crowns.

When choosing a dental crown, consider these key points:

  • Type of crown:
    There are various types of dental crowns available, such as all-ceramic, metal, and porcelain-fused-to-metal options. When choosing a crown, it’s essential to consider factors like strength, aesthetic appearance, and durability to find the right type of crown for your needs.
  • Material properties:
    Gold crowns have several benefits, such as strength and reduced wear on adjacent teeth. On the other hand, porcelain and composite materials offer aesthetic advantages by providing a more natural appearance and colour match.
  • Cost and longevity:
    Weigh the initial cost against the expected lifespan of the crown. Remember that some dental crown materials, although cheaper upfront, may not last as long as more durable options.
  • Procedure and aftercare:
    Learn about dental crown procedures, which one would require more tooth reduction and the specific aftercare routines needed for each material.

Choosing the right dental crown requires considering factors such as the patient’s oral health, aesthetics needs, and budget. Discussing with your dentist can help you make an informed decision, positively impacting your dental health.

All-Ceramic Crowns as The Aesthetic Choice

All-ceramic crowns have become a popular choice for people looking to improve the appearance of their smile while maintaining a natural look.

Let’s explore the advantages and disadvantages of this type of crown and identify scenarios where they are most suitable.

Advantages:

  • Aesthetic appeal:
    All-ceramic crowns offer a cosmetic treatment option that closely matches natural teeth colour, making them excellent for front teeth restoration.
  • Biocompatibility:
    Made from non-metallic materials, these crowns reduce the risk of allergic reactions and promote the health of the tooth.
  • Durability properties:
    Modern advancements in ceramic materials have enhanced their durability, making them suitable for restoring bite function while offering a durable restoration.

Disadvantages:

  • Cost:
    All ceramic crowns can be more expensive than other crown materials. This is due to the advanced materials and techniques required for their fabrication.
  • Strength limitations:
    All-ceramic crowns might not be the first choice for restoring back teeth due to their lower strength. Compared to metal crowns, this makes all-ceramic crowns less able to withstand extreme bite forces.
  • Wear on opposing teeth:
    The hardness of the ceramic material can cause additional wear on the natural teeth opposite it. This can happen mainly if the bite function is improperly adjusted or if the patient has parafunctional habits like bruxism.

Appropriate scenarios:

  • Front teeth restoration:
    For teeth visible when smiling or talking, all-ceramic crowns are the closest match to natural teeth. This makes them an ideal choice for cosmetic improvements.
  • Patients with metal sensitivities:
    For individuals who are sensitive or allergic to metals, all-ceramic crowns offer a safe alternative.
  • The desire for a natural colour match:
    All-ceramic crowns offer a natural-looking option. They blend seamlessly with existing teeth and provide a suitable colour match.

All-ceramic crowns are recommended for those prioritising a natural and aesthetic look, especially for the restoration of front teeth. However, dental crown cost and durability should also be considered before deciding. It is crucial that you discuss these factors with your dentist.

Metal Crowns as a Durable Option

Metal crowns are known for their durability and strength, making them a good option for restoring decayed or damaged teeth.

Let’s explore the advantages and disadvantages of metal crowns and determine their indications.

Advantages:

  • Longevity and durability:
    Metal crowns are known for their exceptional durability. They can withstand chewing forces well, making them a lasting option for patients.
  • Minimal Tooth Structure Removal:
    Metal crowns require less natural tooth structure removal compared to other dental crowns. This helps to preserve more of the tooth’s natural structure.
  • Resistant to wear:
    Metal crowns are long-lasting, and they can maintain their strength and appearance for years.

Disadvantages:

  • Aesthetic considerations:
    The metallic colour of these crowns makes them a less pleasing option for restoring teeth that are in the visible portions of the mouth.
  • Metal allergies:
    A few patients may have or can develop an allergy to the metals used in these crowns, which could necessitate a different material choice.
  • Temperature sensitivity:
    Some individuals might experience sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures with metal crowns, especially soon after placement.

Appropriate scenarios:

  • Back teeth restoration:
    Metal crowns are an excellent choice for molars that endure the brunt of chewing. This is due to their strength and durability.
  • Patients with limited space:
    Metal crowns are often used in cases where there is limited space between the upper and lower teeth, as they can maintain their strength even when thin.
  • After root canal treatment:
    Following a root canal treatment, teeth become more brittle and susceptible to fracture. Metal crowns provide the necessary protection and support to preserve the tooth’s structure.

Metal crowns are a dependable and long-lasting approach to restoring teeth, particularly in functional areas of the mouth. Discussing your teeth’s appearance and physical characteristics during dental appointments is crucial to achieving your dental goals.

Porcelain-Fused-To-Metal Combines the Benefits of Both Materials

Porcelain-fused-to-metal (PFM) crowns offer a unique blend of metal durability and porcelain’s aesthetic appeal. PFM crowns are a versatile option for dental restoration.

Advantages:

  • Aesthetic appeal:
    The porcelain exterior can be matched to the colour of the adjacent teeth, offering a more natural appearance than metal crowns.
  • Durability:
    The metal structure beneath the porcelain provides superior strength and longevity, capable of withstanding chewing and biting forces.
  • Versatility:
    PFM crowns can be used to restore both front and back teeth due to their strength and aesthetic qualities.

Disadvantages:

  • Wear on opposing teeth:
    The crown’s porcelain part can cause more wear on the opposing teeth than metal or resin crowns.
  • Aesthetic limitations over time:
    The porcelain can sometimes chip off and the metal edge can become visible along the gumline if the gums recede.
  • Potential for metal allergies:
    Although rare, some patients may react to the metal alloy used, mainly if it contains certain metals like nickel.

Appropriate Scenarios:

  • Front and back teeth restoration:
    PFM crowns work for front and back teeth. They offer both strength and aesthetic appearance.
  • Following root canal therapy:
    After root canal therapy, a tooth may need the added protection of a crown. PFM crowns offer a balanced choice by providing strength and a pleasing appearance.
  • Replacing old dental fillings:
    PFM crowns provide a durable and aesthetically pleasing restoration to teeth with multiple or large dental fillings. They cover the prepared tooth and support its structure.

PFM crowns are a popular option for dental restoration due to their durability and aesthetic appeal. They are suitable for a wide range of treatments, from enhancing the cosmetic appearance of teeth to providing support for decayed teeth. They offer a natural look and the exceptional strength of metal. Consider discussing PFM crowns with your dentist for your restoration needs.

Resin Crowns are The Budget-Friendly Option

Resin crowns offer a cost-effective option for dental treatments, providing a balance between affordability and functionality for patients.

Resin crowns have both advantages and disadvantages and are well-suited for specific scenarios.

Advantages:

  • Affordability:
    Among the variety of options for dental crowns, resin stands out for its cost-effectiveness, making it accessible to more patients.
  • Aesthetic flexibility:
    Resin crowns can be matched to the colour of natural teeth for a harmonious look.
  • Less tooth preparation required:
    Resin crowns preserve more of the natural tooth since less removal of tooth structure is needed.

Disadvantages:

  • Wear and tear:
    Resin crowns are less durable than metal or porcelain crowns and may wear down faster over time.
  • Susceptibility to staining:
    These crowns can stain more quickly than their counterparts, potentially requiring more maintenance or e replacement.
  • Lower strength:
    While they may work for many situations, they may not provide the necessary strength for back teeth that undergo heavy chewing forces.

Appropriate Scenarios:

  • Temporary option:
    Resin crowns can serve as a temporary restoration while waiting for a more durable crown, especially during crown fabrication.
  • Children’s primary teeth:
    Resin crowns can be a practical and cost-effective option for baby teeth that adult teeth will replace in due course.
  • Front teeth restoration:
    In situations where a pleasing appearance is more important than maximum strength, such as with front teeth, resin crowns can be a cost-effective option.
  • Limited budget situations:
    Resin crowns provide affordable dental restoration without compromising effectiveness for budget-conscious patients.

Resin crowns are a cost-effective and practical option for dental treatments. They are suitable for temporary placements, treatments for children, or when affordability is a priority. Consult your dentist to determine the most suitable material for your case.

Are Stainless Steel Crowns a Good Option?

Stainless steel crowns are a durable choice of dental crown materials, offering specific advantages and disadvantages.

Advantages:

  • Durability:
    Stainless steel crowns are highly durable and can withstand significant wear and tear, making them a reliable long-term option.
  • Cost-effectiveness:
    When it comes to dental crown costs, stainless steel crowns are generally more affordable than all-porcelain or porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns.
  • Quick process:
    The crown-making process for stainless steel is straightforward, often allowing for same-day dental crowns, which is an efficient option for patients.

Disadvantages:

  • Aesthetic appeal:
    Stainless steel crowns do not look like real teeth, unlike porcelain crowns that mimic the appearance of natural teeth.
  • Potential for nickel allergy:
    Some stainless steel crowns contain nickel, which can cause allergic reactions in sensitive individuals.

Appropriate scenarios:

  • Paediatric dentistry:
    Stainless steel crowns are often the crown of choice for primary teeth in children. They provide a durable, cost-effective option that can protect a tooth until it naturally falls out.
  • Back teeth restoration:
    The durability and functionality of stainless steel crowns make them suitable for molars and back teeth that aren’t visible when smiling.
  • Temporary situations:
    Stainless steel crowns can be temporarily used while waiting for a custom-made crown, particularly following root canal therapy.

Stainless steel crowns can be an excellent choice for durability and cost-effectiveness. However, they may not be aesthetically pleasing for visible teeth. Discuss your options with your dentist to choose the right crown for your dental health goals and aesthetic preferences.

Criteria for Comparing Dental Crowns

When choosing dental crowns, it is essential to consider various factors to find the most suitable fit. Here’s a simplified overview:

  • Material:
    The choice of material, from all-porcelain crowns to metal or acrylic resin crowns, affects the crown’s appearance, strength, and price. Porcelain offers a natural appearance, while metals are known for durability.
  • Cost:
    Dental crown costs vary depending on the material and complexity of the procedure. Porcelain crowns are generally more expensive than resin ones due to their aesthetic appeal and manufacturing process.
  • Aesthetics:
    The goal for many is to have a crown that looks indistinguishable from natural teeth. Porcelain and porcelain-layered crowns are preferred for their ability to mimic the natural tooth surface.
  • Dental crown procedure:
    The dental crown process includes tooth preparation, digital impressions, and final crown placement. Each step, from consultation to final cementation, plays a role in the overall success of the treatment.
  • Durability and maintenance:
    Durability varies depending on the material, with metal and porcelain-fused-to-metal being the more wear-resistant materials. Maintenance requirements also differ, with porcelain needing careful handling to prevent damage.
  • Fit and comfort:
    A crown should cover the tooth and match the bite. The precision of the fit is crucial for comfort and functionality, influenced by accurate impressions and effective dental cement.

Final Thoughts

Exploring the world of dental crowns reveals the importance of choosing the right type, material, and understanding the associated costs and procedures. This knowledge empowers you to make choices that suit your health, aesthetics, and budget.

The decision between all-porcelain and metal crowns is crucial, as it directly affects the overall appearance, feel, and durability of your smile. Make an informed choice to achieve a long-lasting, confident smile that you can be proud of.

For personalised advice and to explore your dental crown options, consider booking a consultation at Karrinyup Dental Centre. Their team is ready to support your journey towards a healthier, more confident smile.

Dr. Justin Soon

Author

Dr. Justin Soon

Dr. Justin completed his Bachelor of Dental Surgery at the University of Western Australia. Dr Justin completed his surgical implant training under the mentorship of Dr. Glen Liddelow, Dr. Graham Carmichael, and Dr. Brent Allan at the Branemark Centre.

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