If your dentist has recommended that you have a crown fitted on one of your back teeth, you have a choice of materials for your new crown. Gold and porcelain are the two most popular options for back teeth crowns, with porcelain-fused-to-metal as a third choice. But which one would be the best choice for you?
1. Gold crowns
Gold crowns are made entirely from gold that is cast from a mould made from the tooth to be crowned. Although they are the most expensive option, gold crowns are the longest lasting, with a usual longevity of over 50 years. In fact, gold crowns sometimes fail because the teeth opposing the crown become worn down or are damaged by decay.
2. Porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns (PFM)
PFM crowns are made from a gold or platinum substructure, which gives the crown strength and a natural-looking porcelain crown.
PFM crowns can last for up to 10 years when the porcelain part of the crown may need replacing due to cracking or wear and tear. As the porcelain wears, it can also lose its natural colour, although you may not see this as an issue if the crown is at the back of your mouth where it is not immediately visible. There can also be issues with deterioration of the look of the crown along the gum line, especially in older people where the gums have begun to recede.
3. Porcelain crowns
Crowns made entirely from porcelain are the other option that you have for back tooth crowns. Porcelain crowns are extremely lifelike in appearance, making them a popular choice for teeth that are easily visible. Porcelain crowns are also a much cheaper option than pure gold or PFM.
The major disadvantage of porcelain crowns is their lack of strength. They can be very brittle, cracking easily and therefore not lasting very long. Broken porcelain crowns are effectively made from fired glass, making repair impractical. Therefore, if your porcelain crown fails, you will have to pay for a brand new one to be made and fitted.
Porcelain crowns can also cause damage to the opposing teeth that they bite against. This can lead to more dental bills for repairs to the damaged teeth.
All of the three main types of materials used for back tooth crowns have pros and cons. For more guidance and advice on which type of crown would be the best choice for you, have a chat with your dentist. If you would like to further improve the appearance of your smile, consider asking your dentist about Invisalign when you go in for a dental crown.