Posted on: 13 March 2018
Having a dental crown fitted to a badly damaged tooth can be a great way to save your smile and preserve as much natural tooth as possible, without going to the trouble, effort and expense of having the tooth extracted and replaced with an implant or fixed denture. However, no two crowns are ever the same, and they differ as much in the materials used to make them as the shapes they take.
If you are due to have a crown fitted to a damaged tooth, you will have to choose what it will be made of, and you have a number of choices that each come with their own advantages and disadvantages. You should therefore consult closely with your dentist on which material is best for your needs, and familiarise yourself with the properties of the following popular crown materials:
The classic choice of material for crowns, gold may look a little ostentatious to some, but gold crowns are far from all style and no substance. Dentists have manufactured gold crowns for many decades, primarily because of gold's incredible durability and total resistance to corrosion and other adverse chemical reactions, and a well-fitted gold crown can last you the rest of your life with little maintenance. Since gold is a relatively soft metal and certainly softer than enamel, a gold crown will also minimise wear on the teeth opposing the crowned tooth.
As for the disadvantages of gold crowns, the most obvious drawback is that they hardly look like real teeth, and while you may like the striking looks of a gold crown, they do make it very obvious that you have had some serious dental work. As you can imagine, gold crowns are also more expensive than crowns made of other materials, although their sheer durability can make them a good long-term investment.
Resin crowns are made from durable plastic resins and can be coloured to match the shade of the surrounding teeth with reasonable accuracy; however, their most important advantage is that they are very cheap. Unfortunately, resin crowns are not as durable as crowns made from more expensive materials, so they will generally wear and and require repairs or replacement inside the space of a few years. They are more suitable as temporary measures to protect the remnants of your living tooth while you save up for a more expensive and durable crown.
The gold standard when it comes to natural looks, porcelain crowns can be matched to the shade of your natural teeth with remarkable accuracy, and a porcelain crown crafted by a competent dentist will look indistinguishable from a healthy tooth even under close inspection. They are particularly suitable for damaged front teeth and even mimic the slight translucency exhibited by natural teeth under intense light.
However, porcelain is quite brittle as far as crown materials go, and a single heavy impact can cause a porcelain crown to crack or shatter, necessitating immediate repair or replacement. They also tend to have a limited usable life, as after a number of years, the porcelain becomes porous and easily stained.
Using a unique hybrid material commonly used for crowning both front and back teeth, PFM crowns consist of a durable metal crown that hugs the damaged tooth, enclosed in a porcelain shell that mimics the look of a real tooth almost as well as a pure porcelain tooth. The addition of a metal base makes PFM crowns far more durable than pure porcelain crowns and provides the same level of camouflage for most practical purposes. They also tend to be slightly cheaper than pure porcelain crowns and are easier to repair if they become damaged.
Unfortunately, PFM crowns become far more obviously artificial if you suffer from receding gums, as this tends to expose the metal beneath the porcelain and leave unsightly dark lines around your gum line. They can also cause significant wear to opposing teeth if poorly crafted and/or fitted, so having PFM crowns fitted by an expert dentist is essential.Share