3 Types of Dental Crowns and How They Differ


If you will soon be obtaining a root canal and know you will need to have the tooth crowned after your procedure or just want to improve the appearance of an unsightly tooth, then you need to know about the types of dental crowns available. Why are there many crown types and not just one? There is no one crown that is perfect for every tooth and each crown type differs in strength and appearance.

Read on to learn about the three types of crowns available today and the teeth they typically are used to restore.

1. Porcelain Crowns

Porcelain, often also called ceramic, crowns are made from pure porcelain. These crowns look just like natural teeth and are very durable. They are great options for front teeth, such as incisors and canine teeth, especially teeth that are fully visible up to the gum line when you smile.

However, full porcelain crowns are typically not the best option for molars that must withstand a lot of biting force, also called masticatory force. While the masticatory force of the average incisor is about 20 to 25 pounds, the average masticatory force of an adult molars is about 90 to 200 pounds. If you were to bite down too hard on a food with a full porcelain crown on a rear molar, the crown could fracture.

However, when you visit a dentist equipped with CEREC 3D CAD/CAM technology, you can look forward to your porcelain crown being fabricated and installed in just one day.

2. Metal Alloy Crowns

When a crown is needed to cover a molar or premolar, a metal alloy crown is a great option. There are three main types of metal alloy crowns:

  • Nonprecious (also called base metal or non-noble) crowns have a silver appearance and are typically made of cobalt, chromium, nickel, and other nonprecious metals.
  • Semiprecious (also called noble) crowns can differ in composition, but all contain at least 25 percent precious metal. Precious metals included in dental crowns include gold, palladium, and platinum. These crowns can be gold or silver in appearance.
  • High noble crowns contain at least 60 percent precious metal with at least 40 percent of their precious metal content being gold. These crowns can appear gold or silver in color and are the highest quality metal crowns available.

Which metal alloy crowns are best for you? Nonprecious metal crowns are very strong and a great option for molars unless you have an allergy to one of the metals they are made of, such as nickel. However, semiprecious and high noble crowns are made of metals that are more malleable than nonprecious metals, which makes fabricating the crown to fit your tooth perfectly much easier.

In addition, semiprecious and high noble alloys tend to fuse to porcelain more thoroughly, which makes them great alloys to include in your porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns.

3. Porcelain-Fused-to-Metal Crowns

If you desire the appearance of a porcelain crown with the strength of a metal crown, then a porcelainfused-to-metal crown is likely the perfect option for you. These crowns work well on all teeth, although after many years, a thin sliver of metal may become revealed near the gum line of the tooth it is installed on.

Of course, this will not affect the appearance of your smile when a crown is placed on a back molar. However, if you are having a crown installed on a front incisor or canine tooth and your gum line is visible when you smile, then you may want to opt for a full porcelain crown on the tooth instead.

If you need a dental crown, then reach out to the friendly staff at Beck Pearce Dental to discuss your crown options and how to finally obtain a smile you love.