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Different types of crowns

- Jul 28, 2018 -

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Once you've been informed that your tooth requires a dental crown, a decision must be made about what kind should be placed.

What issues should be considered?

There are a number of factors that need to be evaluated when making this determination, including the comparative strength, durability and appearance of each kind of crown.

The goal of this page is to outline these issues for you, so you're able to speak intelligently with your dentist as the two of you figure out which type seems to make the best choice for your specific situation.

What are the different types of crowns?

There are three kinds of dental crowns, each based on its type of construction:

  • All-metal

  • All-ceramic

  • Porcelain-fused-to-metal

The next few paragraphs provide a brief description of each type. If you need more detailed information about a certain one, then use its associated link.

a) All-metal crowns

An all-metal "gold" dental crown.

As their name implies, all-metal dental crowns are fabricated entirely out of metal.

Appearance.

While the classic all-metal crown is a "gold" one, a number of other types of dental alloys can be used during the fabrication process. Some of these metals have a silver ("white gold") coloration.

Applications.

Metal crowns are typically placed in situations where great strength is required (they're the strongest, most durable type) and cosmetic appearance is of little concern. For example, they are frequently placed on molars.

b) All-ceramic crowns

An all-ceramic dental crown.

This type of crown is made entirely out of some type of dental ceramic, such as porcelain. When they're made, they can either be:

  • Carved out of a single block of ceramic by a computerized milling machine (CAD/CAM unit).

Both methods offer their own unique advantages and disadvantages.

Appearance.

Some types of all-ceramics are known for their outstanding ability to mimic the look of natural teeth. Other kinds are tooth-colored, but aren't able to generate a truly lifelike appearance.

Applications.

All-ceramics are typically placed in those situations where the tooth's appearance is a major consideration. (Some, but not all, kinds of ceramics are the most natural-looking type of crown a dentist can place.)