What Are Dental Crowns Made Of

In the realm of dentistry, dental crowns serve as protective caps that encase damaged or weakened teeth. These crowns are crafted from various materials, each possessing unique properties that contribute to their durability and aesthetic appeal.

From porcelain and ceramic to metal and gold, the choice of material for a dental crown depends on factors such as strength requirements, desired appearance, and patient preferences.

This article examines the different materials used in dental crowns, providing valuable insights into their composition and suitability for individual cases.

Porcelain Crowns

Porcelain crowns are commonly made from a translucent ceramic material that is highly biocompatible and mimics the natural appearance of teeth. Porcelain, also known as dental porcelain or dental ceramic, is a type of glass formed by heating and cooling specific compounds. It possesses excellent aesthetic properties due to its ability to transmit light similar to natural tooth enamel. This translucency allows porcelain crowns to blend seamlessly with surrounding teeth, resulting in a natural-looking smile.

Additionally, porcelain crowns can be customized in terms of shape, size, and color to match the patient’s existing dentition. The process involves careful fabrication by skilled dental technicians who meticulously layer and shape the porcelain material onto a metal substructure or zirconia core for added strength and durability.

Ceramic Crowns

Ceramic crowns are composed of a material that is commonly used in dentistry due to its aesthetic appeal and biocompatibility. These crowns are made from a type of dental ceramic known as porcelain-fused-to-metal (PFM) or all-ceramic materials. Ceramic crowns offer several benefits, such as their ability to closely match the natural color of teeth, providing an aesthetically pleasing result. They also exhibit good biocompatibility, reducing the risk of allergic reactions or gum irritation. However, ceramic crowns have some disadvantages as well. They can be susceptible to chipping or fracturing if subjected to excessive force or trauma. Additionally, they may require more tooth preparation compared to other crown materials, which could potentially weaken the underlying tooth structure. Overall, ceramic crowns are a popular choice for patients seeking both functional and visually appealing dental restorations.


Benefits Disadvantages
Aesthetic appeal Susceptible to chipping
Biocompatible Requires extensive tooth preparation

Metal Crowns

Metal crowns are known for their strength and durability, making them suitable for patients who require a long-lasting restoration. These crowns require less tooth preparation compared to other types of dental crowns, preserving more of the natural tooth structure.

However, one drawback is that metal crowns can be noticeable and less aesthetically pleasing due to their metallic appearance.

Strong and durable

Constructed from a variety of materials, dental crowns are engineered to possess robustness and resilience. These materials include metals such as gold, silver, and palladium alloys. Metal crowns offer exceptional strength and durability, making them suitable for posterior teeth subjected to high biting forces. The use of metal alloys ensures that the crown can withstand the rigors of chewing and grinding without fracturing or wearing down easily.

Additionally, metal crowns exhibit minimal wear on opposing teeth due to their hardness. This longevity contributes to their reputation as long-lasting dental restorations. However, it is worth noting that metal crowns may not be aesthetically pleasing for some patients due to their metallic appearance.

Therefore, alternative materials like porcelain-fused-to-metal or all-ceramic crowns may be used in visible areas for a more natural look while still providing adequate strength and durability.

Less tooth preparation required

One advantage of dental crowns is that they often require minimal tooth preparation. This means that only a small portion of the natural tooth structure needs to be removed before placing the crown. Minimal tooth reduction is achieved by using advanced dental materials and techniques that allow for a conservative restoration.

The goal is to preserve as much of the healthy natural tooth as possible while still providing strength and support to the damaged or weakened tooth. By requiring less tooth preparation, dental crowns minimize the invasiveness of the procedure and help maintain the integrity of the remaining tooth structure.

This conservative approach also contributes to better long-term oral health outcomes for patients.

Can be noticeable and less aesthetic

An important consideration to note is that dental crowns can sometimes be easily noticeable and may have a less aesthetic appearance. This is primarily due to the choice of dental crown material, as different materials can affect the natural appearance of the crown.

Here are three factors that contribute to this issue:

  1. Color: Dental crowns made from certain materials may not perfectly match the color and translucency of natural teeth, resulting in an artificial look.

  2. Texture: The texture of some dental crown materials might differ from that of natural teeth, making them stand out when compared to adjacent teeth.

  3. Shape: Depending on the material used, dental crowns can have limitations in replicating the complex shapes and contours found in natural teeth, leading to a less realistic appearance.

To ensure a more aesthetically pleasing result, it is crucial for dentists and patients to carefully consider the choice of dental crown material based on its ability to mimic the natural appearance of teeth.

Gold Crowns

Gold crowns are typically made from a combination of gold, copper, and other metals. The use of gold in dental crowns can be traced back to ancient times when it was highly valued for its durability and biocompatibility. The addition of copper and other metals helps to enhance the strength and stability of the crown.

Despite their excellent physical properties, gold crowns have become less popular due to their noticeable appearance, especially compared to more aesthetically pleasing options such as porcelain crowns. However, gold crowns still have certain advantages over other materials, including their long lifespan and resistance to wear.

Additionally, they require minimal removal of tooth structure during the preparation process, making them a suitable choice for patients with limited tooth structure or those who grind their teeth.

Composite Crowns

Composite crowns are an affordable option for dental restoration. However, they may be more prone to staining and chipping compared to other types of crowns.

As a result, regular maintenance and repairs are necessary to ensure their longevity and functionality.

Affordable option

A viable alternative for individuals seeking an economical choice for dental crowns is to opt for materials other than gold or composite. There are several affordable materials available that provide long-term cost effectiveness. One option is porcelain-fused-to-metal (PFM) crowns, which combine the strength of metal with the aesthetic appeal of porcelain. Another option is zirconia crowns, which are known for their durability and natural-looking appearance. These crowns are made from a type of ceramic material that is highly resistant to fractures and wear. Additionally, there are resin-based crowns that offer a more affordable alternative but may not be as durable as other options. When considering the affordability of dental crowns, it is important to weigh the initial cost against the potential need for future repairs or replacements, as this can impact long-term cost effectiveness.

Affordable Materials Long Term Cost Effectiveness
Porcelain-Fused-To-Metal Crowns Combines strength and aesthetics
Zirconia Crowns Highly durable and natural-looking
Resin-Based Crowns More affordable but less durable

Table 1: Comparison of different affordable materials for dental crowns

Can be prone to staining and chipping

Porcelain-fused-to-metal and zirconia crowns, while durable and aesthetically pleasing, can be susceptible to staining and chipping. To prevent staining and maintain the appearance of these crowns, certain precautions should be taken.

  • Oral Hygiene: Regular brushing with non-abrasive toothpaste and flossing are crucial to remove plaque buildup that can lead to staining.

  • Avoid Staining Substances: Limit consumption of foods and beverages known to stain teeth, such as coffee, tea, red wine, and tobacco products.

  • Professional Cleanings: Regular visits to the dentist for professional cleanings help remove any surface stains that may accumulate over time.

  • Mouthguard Usage: For individuals who engage in contact sports or grind their teeth during sleep, wearing a mouthguard can protect the crown from accidental damage.

To minimize the risk of chipping, it is essential to avoid biting down on hard objects like ice cubes or using teeth as tools. Additionally, regular dental check-ups are recommended to identify any signs of wear or damage early on.

By following these preventive measures, patients can prolong the lifespan of their dental crowns and maintain their desired aesthetic appeal.

Requires regular maintenance and repairs

Regular maintenance and repairs are necessary for ensuring the longevity and functionality of dental crowns. These restorative dental treatments require regular check-ups to identify any potential issues and prevent further damage.

During these visits, a dentist can assess the condition of the crown, checking for signs of wear, cracking, or loosening. They may also clean and polish the crown to remove any staining or plaque buildup.

Additionally, long-term care is crucial in maintaining the integrity of dental crowns. Patients should practice good oral hygiene habits, such as brushing twice a day with a soft-bristled toothbrush and flossing daily around the crown area. It is also important to avoid biting down on hard objects or using teeth as tools to prevent potential damage to the crown.

By following these guidelines, patients can ensure their dental crowns remain functional and aesthetically pleasing for an extended period.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much do dental crowns typically cost?

The cost of dental crowns varies depending on factors such as the materials used and the complexity of the procedure. Dental crown materials, such as porcelain or metal alloys, can affect the overall cost.

Are dental crowns permanent or do they need to be replaced over time?

Dental crowns, although durable, are not permanent and typically need to be replaced over time due to wear and tear. Alternatives to dental crowns include veneers and dental implants, which also have their own lifespan.

Can dental crowns be used to fix severely decayed or damaged teeth?

Dental crowns can be used as an alternative for severely decayed or damaged teeth. However, it is important to consider the pros and cons of dental crowns before deciding on this treatment option.

Are there any potential risks or complications associated with getting dental crowns?

While dental crowns are generally safe, there are potential side effects such as sensitivity, allergic reactions or tooth damage. Alternatives to dental crowns include fillings, veneers, or in some cases, extraction and replacement with implants.

How long does the process of getting a dental crown usually take?

The process of getting a dental crown usually takes two visits. During the first visit, the tooth is prepared and impressions are taken. A temporary crown is then placed. In the second visit, the permanent crown is bonded to the tooth. Dental crown alternatives have their own pros and cons.


Dental crowns are commonly made of different materials, such as porcelain, ceramic, metal, gold, and composite.

Porcelain and ceramic crowns offer a natural appearance but may lack durability.

Metal crowns provide strength but may not be aesthetically pleasing.

Gold crowns are known for their longevity and biocompatibility.

Composite crowns offer a blend of aesthetics and durability.

In conclusion, dental crown materials vary in terms of appearance, strength, and longevity, giving patients a range of options to choose from based on their specific needs and preferences.

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