What's the best type of dental crown?

Have any of your teeth been chipped in an accident, heavily damaged by decay or weakened by dental treatments such as a root canal? If so, your dentist might recommend a crown.

Dental crowns are custom-made caps that are fitted over damaged or weakened teeth to restore their original strength, shape and function. Depending on what they're made from, they might also restore the tooth's natural appearance.

Most dentists offer a choice of crown materials, so you can choose the one that suits you and your price range. All crowns help to restore your smile, but they each have their pros and cons that can make them more or less suitable for different patients. Here are the most popular types of crowns in Australia today:

Gold crowns

Gold crowns have been used in dentistry for more than 100 years, but they're less popular these days as more people prefer the natural look of porcelain.

If you're less concerned with aesthetics though (or you like the gold look), gold crowns can actually last longer than any other type of crowns – more than 50 years in some cases. They're also very strong, less likely to be damaged then ceramic, and cause minimal wear to the surrounding teeth.

Porcelain-fused-to-metal (PFM) crowns

A middle ground between gold crowns and all-ceramic crowns, PFM crowns combine the natural look of porcelain with the durability of metal crowns. A strong metal base is fused to an outer porcelain layer, which is colour-matched to your natural teeth shade by your dentist.

These crowns are most commonly used for the molars (back teeth), as their strength means they're capable of standing up to the pressure of chewing and grinding food. They're less popular for the front teeth, as the metal base can sometimes show through the porcelain layer in certain light conditions. PFM crowns won't be suitable if you have a metal allergy.

All-ceramic and all-porcelain crowns

Porcelain and ceramic crowns have the most natural-looking appearance of any crowns, which helps the restorations blend in more easily with the surrounding teeth. These crowns are commonly used for the front teeth, which are most visible and subject to less pressure than the grinding teeth.

Porcelain has the edge over other ceramic materials, as it has a similar translucent finish to tooth enamel. It's also stronger and more resistant to stains. This also makes it a more expensive option, but as porcelain crowns usually last longer before they need to be replaced, this can help to balance the cost.

Same-day (CEREC) crowns

Whichever type of crown you prefer, you'll usually have to wait for a couple of weeks while your custom restoration is manufactured off-site in a dental laboratory before being sent back to your dentist. This isn't the case for CEREC crowns, which use computer-aided design and manufacture (CAD/CAM) to produce custom crowns during a single dental appointment.

CEREC same-day crowns are made entirely from ceramic, in a hue selected by your dentist to be a close match for your natural teeth. Once your dentist has designed your custom crown, this data will be sent to a milling machine on-site that sculpts it out of the ceramic block. The crown can then be polished and fitted in place by your dentist.

Find out more about dental crowns in Brisbane

If you want to know more about the different types of dental crowns we offer at Swish Dental, get in touch with our friendly teams in Brisbane.

Call our Everton Park clinic on (07) 3485 0895 or our Mitchelton branch on (07) 3485 0875. You can also make an appointment online.