If you have a tooth with a large portion of decay or a significant chipped tooth or break in the enamel, you will most likely need a crown. However, not all crowns are created equally and many have unique properties that some teeth require for a successful treatment.
Below are the four types of crowns we use in our office, listed from most common to least common, as well as the pros and cons of each:
- Porcelain fused to metal: These are often used for back teeth where extra strength is needed for chewing. The advantages of this crown are that it is strong and easy to prepare. The disadvantage is that they are not as aesthetically pleasing as all-porcelain crowns. However, since they are often placed in the back of the mouth, this typically is not an issue. In addition, they cannot be made with CAD-CAM technology, meaning these crowns cannot be placed in one appointment.
- All-porcelain: These are used in the front of the mouth and in the back of the mouth when aesthetics are a concern. The advantages of this crown are that it is aesthetically pleasing and it can be made with the CAD-CAM technology and placed in one appointment. However, not all cases are a good fit for these crowns. If a patient has decay below the gum line or a weaker tooth, a porcelain crown is not a good solution. These preparations must be very precise and this is difficult to achieve when access is limited.
- Zirconia: These crowns contain no metal and are a very hard porcelain-like material. They are typically used when the patient is worried about aesthetics but also requires a stronger crown. The disadvantage is that they don’t bond to the tooth as well as the others, so they come unglued more and have a higher risk of decay. In addition, it is harder to get a precise fit with these crowns because the material shrinks during fabrication. This can result in a shorter life expectancy for the restoration.
- Gold: Most people cringe at this, but gold crowns are still used today. The advantage is that they are incredibly strong and can be used on second molars and wisdom teeth where strength is needed and aesthetics are not a concern. In addition, they are easy to prepare and adjust, offer the most conservative approach, and last the longest. They also decrease your risk of decay because bacteria don’t like gold. The disadvantage is limited use due to aesthetics and high cost depending on the price of gold.
Have questions about which type of crown is best for you? Call our office at (813) 689-4226 to schedule a consultation.