By: Dr. Lahiru Chandraweera

September 09, 2023

Choosing the Right Dental Crown Material: Understanding Your Options

Healthy teeth are a vital part of our overall well-being, and it’s essential to address tooth decay and damaged teeth promptly. Dental crowns, a common form of dental restoration, have long been a popular choice for restoring the natural tooth structure, providing a durable restoration for a variety of dental issues and helping you achieve a beautiful smile.

Before you decide on getting dental crowns, it’s crucial to understand the different dental crown materials available. This knowledge allows you to make an informed decision about your dental health, considering factors such as aesthetic properties, durability, and cost.

In this blog post, we’ll explore the different types of dental crowns, the role of your dentist in choosing dental crown material, and the various factors to consider when selecting the right dental crown options for you. We’ll also discuss the cost implications, aesthetic appeal, and durability of different dental crown materials and how to care for them. So, let’s get started on this journey to an amazing smile through restorative dentistry!

Hills Family Dental Centre

Summary of the Content

  • Dental crowns are a popular option for tooth restoration, addressing issues such as decayed or damaged teeth.

  • Different types of dental crowns include ceramic or porcelain, metal, porcelain fused to metal, and composite resin, each with unique properties, benefits, and drawbacks.

  • Choosing the right dental crown material involves considering factors such as durability, aesthetics, cost, and individual oral health conditions.

  • Your dentist plays a crucial role in helping you choose the right dental crown material, assessing your oral health, understanding materials, and creating a personalised treatment plan.

  • The cost of dental crowns varies significantly based on the material used, with ceramic or porcelain crowns costing up to $2,100, full metal crowns ranging from $1,785-$4,654, and porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns costing between $1,695-$2,500.

  • Proper care and regular dental check-ups are essential for maintaining dental crowns, regardless of the chosen material.

Introduction to Dental Crown Materials

Dental crowns are tooth-shaped caps that dentists place over a tooth, serving several purposes:

  • Restoration:
    Dental crowns restore the shape, size, and strength of a decayed tooth or extensively decayed teeth.

  • Protection:
    They protect teeth weakened by decay as well as teeth that had root canal treatment.

  • Cover:
    Crowns can be used to cover severely discoloured teeth, misshapen teeth, dental implants, or a tooth with a large filling.

Choosing the right type of crown is crucial for several reasons:

  • Comfort:
    Some materials may cause allergic reactions or discomfort.

  • Appearance:
    The material should mimic the colour and translucency of natural teeth for an aesthetic appearance.

  • Durability:
    The material should withstand the forces of biting and chewing.

  • Cost:
    The cost of dental crown materials varies, affecting the overall cost of the treatment.

Understanding the Different Types of Dental Crowns

In the field of dentistry, there are several types of dental crowns, each with unique properties, benefits, and potential drawbacks. Here’s a look at the variety of options:

Ceramic or Porcelain Crowns

These crowns offer a natural tooth colour and are typically used for front teeth. However, they’re not as strong as metal crowns and may wear down over time.

  • Zirconia Crowns:
    Zirconia is a type of ceramic that’s very durable and can be matched to the colour of natural teeth.

  • Lithium Disilicate Crowns:
    These crowns offer a balance of strength and aesthetics, with a translucent appearance that closely mimics natural enamel.

Metal Crowns

Metal crowns, including gold crowns and base metal alloys, are durable and resist wear and tear. However, their metallic colour makes them a less common option for visible teeth.

  • Gold Alloy Crowns:
    Gold alloy crowns are strong and highly resistant to chipping and cracking, showcasing the advantage of gold crowns.

  • Base Metal Alloys:
    Base metal alloy crowns are resistant to corrosion and require the least amount of healthy tooth removal.

Porcelain-Fused-to-Metal Crowns

These custom crowns are made of a metal base and covered by porcelain, allowing them to combine strength with aesthetics. However, the metal crown margin can later cause a dark shadow along the gum line.

Composite Resin Crowns

These are a less costly choice for dental crowns. However, they wear down over time and are more prone to fractures than other crown types.

Understanding the different types of dental crowns and their unique properties can guide you in choosing dental crown material that suits your specific needs and preferences.

Factors to Consider When Choosing Dental Crown Materials

When it comes to choosing dental crown material, several factors can influence your decision. Here are some key considerations:

  • Durability:
    Some dental crown materials, like metal or zirconia, are more resistant to wear and can withstand biting and chewing forces better than others. This is where your chewing capabilities come into play.

  • Aesthetics:
    If you’re looking for crowns with a more natural appearance, ceramic or porcelain crowns offer a natural colour match to your real teeth. They’re a popular choice for patients seeking to restore their front teeth.

  • Cost:
    The cost of dental crowns varies depending on the type of crown material. When choosing the crown material, it’s important to consider your budget as well as the durability of the material. Some materials may offer an affordable option but may not be as long-lasting.

  • Lifestyle:
    A strong crown material like metal or zirconia may be a better choice if you eat tough foods or have a heavy bite. The choice of material can be influenced by your lifestyle.

The Role of Your Dentist in Choosing Dental Crown Materials

Your dentist plays a crucial role in helping you choose the right dental crown material. Here’s why professional advice is important:

  • Assessment of Oral Health Status:
    Your dentist will evaluate your oral health, including the condition of your neighbouring teeth, gum health, and the presence of tooth decay or gum disease. This assessment is crucial during your crown appointment.

  • Understanding of Materials:
    Dental professionals have extensive knowledge about the mechanical properties of different types of dental crowns and can guide you in choosing the most suitable material. This choice for people seeking dental crowns is critical.

  • Personalised Treatment Plan:
    Based on your oral health, aesthetic preferences, and budget, your dentist can create a customised treatment plan with the most suitable dental crown options. This plan considers whether you prefer a more natural look, durability, or cost-effectiveness.

  • Dental Procedure Explanation:
    Your dentist will explain the dental crown procedure, from the dental impression, which may involve physical moulds, to cementing the final dental crown, so you know what to expect.

The Cost Implications of Different Dental Crown Materials

The cost of dental crowns can vary significantly based on the material used. Here’s a general overview:

  • Ceramic or Porcelain Crown: Up to $2,100
  • Full Metal Crown: $1,785-$4,654
  • Porcelain Fused to Metal Crown: $1,695-$2,500

Several factors can affect the cost of dental crowns:

  • Type of Material: As seen above, the type of material used in the crown can significantly impact the cost.

  • Dentist’s Expertise: More experienced dentists may charge more for their services.

  • Geographical Location: The cost of living in your area can influence the cost of dental treatments.

  • Health Fund: Depending on your health fund plan, some of the costs may be covered.

While cost is an important factor, it shouldn’t be the only factor considered when choosing dental crown material. Consider the long-term benefits and choose a material that offers the right balance of cost, durability, and aesthetics for your needs.

The Aesthetic Appeal of Different Dental Crown Materials

When it comes to restoring your smile, the aesthetic appeal of dental crowns plays a significant role. Here’s how different materials compare:

  • All-Ceramic or Porcelain Crowns:
    These crowns offer excellent aesthetics, the closest match to the natural tooth colour, making them a good option for restoring front teeth.

  • Metal Crowns:
    While durable, metal-based crowns lack the natural colour of teeth, making them less visually appealing. Because of this, they’re often used for back teeth or posterior restorations.

  • Porcelain-Fused-to-Metal Crowns:
    These crowns balance durability and aesthetics. The porcelain overlay can be matched to your natural teeth colour.

  • Composite Resin Crowns:
    While not as durable or as aesthetically pleasing as porcelain, these crowns can be a good option for temporary crowns.

The Durability of Different Dental Crown Materials

The durability of the different types of crown materials is a crucial factor to consider. Here’s how different materials stack up:

  • Porcelain-Fused-to-Metal Crowns:
    These crowns may outlast ceramic crowns over the long term (8 years or more).

  • Zirconia Crowns:
    Zirconia, a type of ceramic, is known for its durability and may last longer than other ceramic crowns.

  • Composite Resin Crowns:
    These crowns tend not to last as long as other crowns, making them more suitable for temporary restorations.

Several factors can impact the lifespan of dental crowns, including:

  • Lifestyle Factors:
    Habits like teeth grinding can wear down crowns faster.

  • Dental Hygiene Practices:
    Regular brushing and flossing can help maintain the condition of your crowns, reducing the risk of dental problems that can cause treatment failure.

  • Regular Dental Check-ups:
    Regular visits to your dentist allow them to detect and address issues early, prolonging the life of your crowns.

Caring for Your Dental Crowns

Regardless of the dental crown material chosen, proper care is essential for maintaining your crowns. Here are some tips:

  • Maintain Good Oral Hygiene:
    Regular brushing and flossing can keep your crowns clean and plaque-free. This is one of the most important factors that affects crown longevity.

  • Consider Your Bite Function:
    When caring for your crowns, remember to consider your bite function. Avoid hard foods that could damage your crowns, especially if they’re made from less durable materials like composite resin. This will help prolong the lifespan of your crown.

  • Regular Dental Check-ups:
    Regular visits to your dentist allow for early detection of issues and prompt treatment in case any problems are observed.

  • Maintain Cosmetic Appearance:
    Regular care and cleaning can help maintain the cosmetic appearance of your crowns, keeping them looking healthy.

Remember, the longevity and performance of your dental crown restorations largely depend on the care you provide. Keep up with your oral hygiene practices and regular dental check-ups to maintain that bright, confident smile.

Final Thoughts

Choosing the right dental crown material is a crucial decision that can impact your oral health, comfort, and confidence. Each type of dental crown has its unique properties, benefits, and potential drawbacks. Here’s a quick comparison to help you understand your dental crown options better:

Dental Crown MaterialAppearanceDurabilityLifespanCost
Ceramic or PorcelainExcellent natural teeth colour match, ModerateVariesUp to $2,100
Metal (Gold Alloy, Base Metal Alloys)Metallic, less naturalHighLong-term (8 years or more)$1,785-$4,654
Porcelain Fused to MetalGood natural teeth colour match, but more opaque colourHigh8 years or more$1,695-$2,500
Composite ResinGoodLowerShorter compared to othersLower

Remember, the choice of dental crown material depends on various factors, including your oral health condition, aesthetic preferences, lifestyle, and budget. It’s always wise to discuss these factors with your dentist to make an informed decision.

At Hills Family Dental Centre, we’re committed to helping you make the right choice for your dental health. We invite you to book a dental appointment with us to discuss your dental crown options. You can reach us by phone or through our website.

We look forward to helping you achieve a healthy, confident smile with the right dental crown materials.