You probably don’t spend a lot of time thinking about dental crowns. That is, until you need one. A crown is one of the most basic tried-and-true restorations. This technique has been saving teeth since the beginning of modern dentistry. However, don’t be fooled into thinking that nothing has changed.

Today’s techniques are more precise, more accurate, and more reliable, creating a much better crown. Additionally, we have a wide variety of materials available. Some dentists promote sturdy gold crowns, and some exclusively use cosmetic porcelain. Many patients ask Dr. Dietrich what material he uses for crowns, and the answer is, “whatever you want.” Every option has its own distinct advantage, and, since it is going in your mouth, the doctor believes that you should have options.

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There are several factors to consider when choosing a crown material, with the most important being:

  • Cost – Metal crowns fall at both ends of the scale, with stainless steel being the most economical, and gold being the most expensive. Steel crowns are an especially popular option for kids’ primary teeth. Resin is a very inexpensive option, but it is not strong, and therefore it is typically used for temporary restorations only.
  • Durability – Gold certainly takes first prize here. It will not break or wear out, and it is gentle on enamel, further reducing the chances of failure. Other types of metal come in second-place, along with a unique option of porcelain fused to metal. Ceramics can break, making them vulnerable to impacts as well as biting forces. However, today’s dental ceramics are formulated for strength and resilience, making them tougher and more versatile than the porcelain of a few years ago.
  • Appearance – Porcelain ceramic is the clear winner here. It is naturally stain-resistant, and remarkably similar to tooth enamel in appearance and opalescence. The color and translucency are customized during fabrication, for a restoration that looks natural and flawless. Porcelain fused to a metal base is a close second. It looks just like a porcelain crown, but there is a chance of a dark line developing around the base, due to the color of the metal.
  • Health – There is not a clear answer for this, because everyone is different. Some people are allergic to metals, and others have personal objections to metal. In these cases, porcelain is considered the healthiest choice. However, allergies to gold are extremely rare, and it offers some unique oral health benefits. Because it is malleable (not rigid) it is much gentler to the opposing tooth. Additionally, gold contacts and expands at a similar rate to tooth material, so it causes less stress on the treated tooth.

After an evaluation, Dr. Dietrich will discuss your options, and answer your questions, helping you make an informed decision. Call (708) 576-1900 and schedule a consultation today.

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