Types of Dental Crowns

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Dental crowns are used to build up and protect broken, decayed, worn down, weak, or brittle teeth. Composite resin may be used for a temporary crown, which is typically worn for only a couple of weeks while the final restoration is being fabricated. Permanent crowns are made from a hard, durable dental material that can withstand the pressure and wear of chewing. We use several types of high-quality materials, all of which have distinct advantages. The best choice depends on various factors, including cosmetic and functional considerations.


Porcelain is one of the most popular materials in cosmetic dentistry. It is comparable to tooth enamel in strength, and it is extremely resistant to wear. Equally important, especially for cosmetic cases, are the aesthetic properties of porcelain. It is very slightly translucent, and has opalescence and reflective qualities virtually identical to enamel. With today’s advanced fabrication techniques, the color and translucency can be customized, replicating the shade, gradient, tiny inclusions, and other characteristics of a natural tooth.

Porcelain fused to metal

Although porcelain is extremely strong and wear resistant, it can be fractured or broken. This was more of a concern when porcelain crowns were first introduced than it is today. Modern materials have improved resilience and are much less brittle than those of the past were. However, in some cases, pure porcelain is less than ideal. Typically, this occurs with back teeth, which are subjected to the greatest strain when chewing. Particularly in a person with bruxism (grinding or clenching teeth), the porcelain may need extra strength. This can be accomplished with a metal base and an outer coating of porcelain for cosmetic purposes.


Zirconia (Lava) crowns are one of the newer options, and they are becoming one of the most popular. Like porcelain, zirconia is a ceramic material with ideal aesthetic properties. However, it is much more durable than porcelain. In fact, zirconia materials have long been used in the aerospace industry, as a replacement for metal in certain applications.


Today, most people prefer natural looking materials, but gold is not obsolete. If is used most often on the back teeth, where functionality is most important, and it is not visible. The malleability of gold means that it is not such hard surfaces for the opposing tooth to bite against, helping prevent tooth damage or wear. Additionally, the thermal reactivity of gold is very similar to that of tooth enamel, meaning that it expands and contracts in response to temperature change at a similar rate. When a restoration reacts more slowly or quickly to temperatures than the tooth, it causes temporary stress on the bond. Therefore, gold is a very tooth-friendly and long-lasting option.

To learn more or to schedule an appointment at Mouth Carolina Dentistry, please call (843) 751 4262.

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