An Overview of Crown Materials
Got a cracked or broken tooth that needs a crown?
In the past year, dentists across the United States have seen a 53.4% increase in patients with cracked or broken teeth. It’s thanks to higher stress levels and more teeth grinding.
A broken tooth can harm your self-esteem, make it more difficult to eat, and even cause pain. That’s why you need to head to the dentist where they may use a dental crown to fix it. But, not all crowns are the same. In fact, there are at least four different materials to choose from. Luckily, they each have clear pros and cons. Read on to learn about your options for dental crowns so you can make the right choice for your health.
What is a dental crown?
A crown is the visible part of your tooth that sits above the gum line. A dental crown is an artificial cover that sits on top of a damaged tooth or an implant.
Your dentist might suggest a dental crown if your tooth can’t be fixed with a filling or if it’s broken. It will protect your existing tooth from further damage and restore your bite.
If your dentist thinks you need an artificial crown, they’ll take an impression of your tooth, and a lab will create it. Some dentists offer same day crowns, and they’ll design and fit your new crown within the same appointment so you can get faster relief.
Gold or Silver Crown
Gold or silver crowns are known for their metallic appearance, but they’re not made from pure gold or silver. They’re actually an alloy or a mixture of several metals.
Metal alloys are considered some of the most durable materials. Strength-wise, gold or silver crowns are the most similar to your natural teeth. That means they won’t cause as much damage to nearby teeth.
However, many people don’t like metallic and gold crowns because of their unnatural appearance. They’d prefer a crown to match their natural teeth. But, these crowns are a durable solution, especially for back molars.
One downside is that some people are at risk of metal allergies, especially to nickel. In fact, a nickel allergy is one of the most common skin allergies and can lead to sinusitis or skin rashes. It’s a problem because small amounts of nickel can appear in everything from jewelry to dental crowns.
An alternative to metal alloy crowns is porcelain-fused-to-metal (PFM) crowns. These crowns feature a metal backing that has a fused layer of porcelain on top. This gives you the strength of a metal crown, with a more natural appearance.
That said, one common complaint about crowns like this is their unusual appearance. In some lighting, the crown might look darker than your natural teeth as the metal shines through. As your gums recede, it can also reveal the metal edge of the crown along the gum line. While this won’t hurt the crown or your tooth, some people may feel self-conscious about it. That’s why many people avoid this type of crown for a front tooth.
These crowns still use a metal base, so you still have to be wary of a reaction to the metal.
This type of crown is a good choice for a back tooth. It’s also a good choice if you already have PFM crowns and want a new crown that will match.
Zirconia crowns are made from a unique type of ceramic. Zirconium is a type of metal that’s turned into a white crystalline oxide. In its other form, it’s called cubic zirconia, which is a popular stand-in for diamonds.
This unique material is extremely durable and stain-resistant, and it looks very similar to your natural teeth. That’s why it’s one of the crown options Dr. Alhadef regularly uses with patients.
Zirconia crowns are ideal for back teeth and molars because of their strength—they’re often as strong as metallic crowns but come at a lower price. Since they’re lab-created, you can also get a more precise fit than you might with a metallic crown.
It’s the perfect mix of durability, affordability, and a natural look. That said, you can opt for all of your crowns to be zirconia crowns—just know that they can look less translucent and a bit more white than natural teeth.
Since zirconia is derived from metal, there’s a slight chance of a reaction in those with a metal allergy, but the risk is much lower than it is with a metallic or PFM crown. Just make sure to get tested for metal sensitivity before you choose this option.
The newest and most revolutionary type of dental crown is the e.max crown. It’s made from an incredible type of durable and translucent ceramic. These crowns look identical to your natural teeth. That’s why many dentists, including Dr. Alhadef, recommend e.max for a front tooth crown placement. That said, you can also opt for e.max crowns for back teeth as well, depending on your needs and budget.
You simply can’t beat the elegance, beauty, durability, and life-like appearance of an e.max crown. It’s the ideal choice for a front tooth crown since it’s in a highly visible spot. They also don’t have the metal band at the gum line, which is a problem with PFM crowns. Plus, since they’re made entirely from ceramic, you won’t have to worry about a metal allergy.
The e.max material is very thin, so your dentist can preserve more of your remaining tooth. That also means a quicker recovery time and less sensitivity.
The only possible downside to an e.max crown is that it’s more expensive than zirconia. But, you’re getting a durable crown that looks identical to your own teeth, so it’s well worth the investment.
Visit your dentist to get the dental care you need.
Whether you’re dealing with a broken or cracked tooth, it’s important to visit the dentist as soon as possible. They may suggest a dental crown to repair your tooth and give you the relief you need.
If you’re looking for expert dental care from a team that truly cares about your health, turn to Dr. Alhadef and the team at Dallas Cosmetic Dental. Contact us today to book an appointment or a virtual consultation with the best dentist in Dallas.