Compare Dental Crown Types
Crowns are basically made of three base materials with the option of overlaying porcelain on top: metal, zirconia and glass ceramic. Hence, we can have a metal crown (ideally gold), a zirconia crown, or a glass ceramic crown.
If we want to improve the aesthetics of these crowns, then we can add porcelain to the surface. Porcelain is an overlaying material used for the most elegant result, and can be added to metal, zirconia & glass ceramic.
When we would recommend of each of these crowns depends on the position in your mouth, the look and strength requirements.
This information is of a general nature for basic comparisons only. For information specific to
your requirements, speak to a dental professional who can discuss your particular case with you.
|Glass Ceramic |
(eg Emax) (3)
|Porcelain fused to Zirconia (3)||Zirconia (3)||Composite Resin||Metal (3)(5)|
|Appearance||most natural (4)||most natural (4)||somewhat visible (4)||natural||visible|
|Best for||most teeth (2)||most teeth (2)||back teeth||most teeth||back teeth|
|Wear on other opposing teeth||some||some||most||least||least|
|Can fit over tooth to give strength||N||Y||Y||N||Y|
|Can be combined with other types||Y||Y||Y||N||N|
|Comments||Must be bonded directly to the tooth||Can chip like a real tooth||Durable & hard wearing||Can look “aged” over time||Durable & hard wearing|
2 Not suitable for situations where there is very little space. The material needs enough thickness to give strength.
3 Can be used for anterior (front) teeth, especially when porcelain is fused to it.
4 No thin line of metal (called a “metal margin) is visible along your gum line, especially if your gums begin to recede.
5 Gold alloy or other non-precious metal alloys (such as palladium, nickel or chromium)
Which dental crown type is best?
“Best” depends on how, where and why it’s being used. Part of the diagnosis of needing a crown is choosing the best type for each individual circumstance. Trust the expert’s advice – let us assess what a your actual need is and recommend the most appropriate material and crown type for the best outcome.
- No one type is best for all situations
- We’ll recommend the best crown type for your specific circumstances
Your dentist will discuss with you about the reasons why you may need a crown. These reasons, to a large extent, will dictate the type of crown that is best for you for this situation. You’ll discuss alternatives, costs, preferred options, treatment processes, advantages and disadvantages.
You have the opportunity to ask questions, of course. There may be reasons your dentist recommends a certain course of action – for example: a crown vs a filling.
We have the training and expertise to assess and facilitate a course of action which is in your best interests. For more on selecting the right dentist for your crown, or for your family, see our “How to Choose the Right Dentist” article.
What’s the Difference Between Permanent & Temporary Dental Crowns?
Temporary crowns are just that, temporary. They are made in our office, and are designed to protect the underlying tooth until the permanent crown is made. They are made of acrylic or stainless steel.
Permanent crowns are be made from metal, resin, porcelain or combinations of porcelain fused to metal.
The metals are either gold alloy (most common) or other non-precious metals. All alloys are bio-compatible and hard wearing, while being kind to neighbouring teeth.
With metals, we’re able to leave more of your tooth structure in place.
Wear to opposing teeth is closest to a natural tooth. Of all the crowns, metal crowns withstand biting and chewing forces best and normally wear down the least. They are highly unlikely to chip or break.
Dental metal alloys high in gold are the easiest for a dentist to work with. This means it’s possible for a dentist to achieve a very precise crown-to-tooth fit.
Because of the obvious colour, metal crowns are a good choice for out-of-sight teeth such as molars.
Porcelain / Ceramic Overlay Crowns
All porcelain overlay crowns give the best natural-looking match compared to any other crown type, and can match the characteristics of the neighbouring teeth. These are good for highly visible teeth, such as front teeth. They are also an excellent alternative for people with metal allergies.
The porcelain can be fused to metal, zirconia and glass ceramic.
The most common and popular dental crown today is Porcelain fused to Zirconia, often abbreviated as PFZ.
This is the most budget conscious offering, and still widely used. Generally these have a shorter lifespan because they wear down over time. Because the surface is slightly softer, it loses its shine over time.
These crowns can be fitted in one appointment and are made directly onto the tooth. This means you’re not waiting for something to come back from a laboratory.
Combination – Porcelain-to-Metal
Like ceramic, porcelain-to-metal dental crowns can be color matched to your smile. Next to porcelain crowns, these look most like natural teeth.
This combination adds strength to the porcelain crown, making it more less prone to cracking or chipping. This makes it suitable for teeth that take more biting or chewing force. And like ceramic, the opposing tooth can get a bit more wear compared to composite or metal dental crowns.
Sometimes the metal interior can show through as a dark line (called “metal margin”), particularly at your gum line and if your gums recede. These crowns can be a good choice for front or back teeth.