In past generations, someone who needed a crown usually got a metal one. It was visible when eating, smiling or chewing. Fortunately, dentistry now has many options, including crowns that look like natural teeth. Yes, metal crowns are still an option too.
Crowns are used on teeth that are damaged in some way, like they’re fractured, weak or have a large cavity. A crown is a cap placed on the tooth and can completely cover the tooth or just a portion of it. When people talk about crowns, they’re referring to the cap, not the material. Dentistry uses several types of materials, and the choice may be based on:
- Aesthetics: how natural the material looks on the tooth
- Durability: crown materials have different strengths
- Location: Sometimes one material is preferable to another based on where in the mouth it’s placed.
- Cost: Sometimes pricing is a factor, for out-of-pocket costs and also insurance payments
- Dentist preference: In most cases, your regular or emergency dentist will have a preference for the material type used. This is based on their experience.
Here’s your guide to the types of crowns available now.
High noble metal crowns
Like the name sounds, high noble means that the material used is a precious one. In this case, it refers to metals like gold, platinum or palladium, all expensive metals. Metal crowns are an alloy, meaning that metals are combined together. For high noble crowns, at least 40% of the metal must be gold, while a total of 60% should include gold, platinum, palladium and a few other metals in that category, according to the American Dental Association.
Noble metal crowns
While noble metal crowns still use gold, platinum and palladium, the required amount is lower, and must be at least 25%.
Base metal crowns
Base metal crowns might still have some of the expensive metals in them, but no more than 25%. Metal crowns as a whole are strong and long-lasting, which is why they’re still used today. They’re popular for molars, that require heavy-duty chewing.
Sometimes known as ceramic crowns, the synthetic material used is tooth-colored. They trade-off is that all porcelain crowns look good, but aren’t usually as durable as metal ones. They’re especially popular for front teeth.
Porcelain fused to metal (PFM) crowns vs. percelain fused to zirconium
PFM crowns are a good mixture of the two main crown categories. The metal provides durability and functionality, while the porcelain overlay makes the tooth look natural.
Your dentist in St. Petersburg FL will be able to talk to you about the best crown type for your need, and what factors influence the dentist’s recommendation. It’s best to get crowns placed soon after you discover a problem, so the tooth doesn’t decay or get damaged further. It’s better to keep your teeth as healthy as possible, so you can avoid dentures or dental implants. Find out if your dental office offers sedation dentistry if dental procedures are stressful for you.