Several types of crowns are available such as gold, porcelain fused to metal, and all ceramic crowns. Each has their own set of strengths and limitations and Dr. Brian can discuss which crown he thinks will work best for you.

Gold Crowns

Gold crowns are extremely durable and will last a long time. Because of how unesthetic the gold is in the mouth, these crowns are limited to the back molars. Gold crowns are good for people who have strong bites and a lot of wear on their teeth. Gold crowns will not fracture and they won’t cause any wear on the opposing tooth. Not as much tooth structure needs to be removed as the other types of crowns, allowing for a more conservative preparation.

Porcelain Fused to Metal (PFM) Crowns

PFM crowns have a metal core and tooth colored material called porcelain covering it, giving it better esthetics than a gold crown. Often, a black line or spot of the metal will show through so they are not as esthetic as all ceramic crowns. Also, the porcelain can fracture off the metal core and the crown needs to be replaced.

All Ceramic Crowns

The most esthetic and natural crowns are all ceramic crowns. They are also some of the strongest crowns that we have as well, making them perfect for front and back teeth. PFM crowns require an opaque layer that cuts down on the translucency of the crown. The only material capable of matching the natural translucency of a tooth is an all ceramic crown. There is also no metal, making the crowns look completely natural. Zirconia crowns have amazing strength and can withstand the powerful forces put on back teeth. There is less reduction of tooth structure needed for all zirconia crowns. One limitation is when porcelain is layered over a zirconia core, it can fracture like a PFM crown. We design our crowns to limit this risk of porcelain fracture. The majority of the crowns we do in our office are all ceramic crowns because the esthetics and strength are unmatched.

Example of a PFM crown compared to the all ceramic crown that replaced it. The PFM is opaque and stands out. It also has the metal showing near the gums. The all ceramic crown is indistinguishable from the adjacent teeth and extremely natural looking.

Before and After Photos of Crowns

Crowns are restorations that can restore function and esthetics bringing back a healthy beautiful smile. They can strengthen and protect teeth from cracks, support large fillings, and prevent weak teeth from breaking. Crowns can also have teeth look and feel natural again by fixing cavities, failing restorations, already broken or fractured teeth, whitening discolored or stained teeth, and correcting gaps or crowding issues.

Single all ceramic crown on a discolored front tooth

Crowns filling in gaps

Crowns used to strengthen broken teeth and failing restorations

Smile makeovers using crowns to mask discolored worn teeth

Full mouth reconstruction with crowns due to severe wear

For more information on smile makeovers and full mouth reconstruction read about Comprehensive Care

What to expect with a crown

A crown requires two visits. The first visit is usually 1 ½ - 2 hours long. It consists of reducing tooth structure all around the tooth so we can encircle that tooth with a crown. We get impressions for our expert lab technician to make your crown. It takes about 2-3 weeks to get the crown back from the lab. We make a temporary crown for you to wear while the crown is being made. The temporary will look and feel natural. We will give you instructions on how to best care for the temporary crown. We recommend that you be careful with it, because it is very important for the temporary to stay on. Without it, the tooth could become very sensitive and the final crown may not fit because the temporary maintains the tooth in the proper position.

The second visit may take a ½ hour to 1 hour. We take the temporary crown off and try on your crown. We check the esthetics and the fit of the crown, the contacts with adjacent teeth and the bite. Sometimes a little adjusting is necessary. Once everything looks perfect we cement your crown with our permanent cement.

You will be numb for the first appointment but local anesthesia is usually not needed for the second appointment. Getting a crown is a painless procedure. If you have sensitivity afterwards please let us know. It may be just because we did some work on the tooth. There is a very low chance that a root canal may be needed after a crown prep is done.

Crowns will last on average 15-20 years. How long it lasts depends on how well you take care of the crown. Just because a tooth is protected with a crown does not mean it can’t get decay or fail. The number one reason crowns need replacement is because a cavity forms below the crown. Good oral hygiene is a must if you want it to last. Also routine cleanings, exams and radiographs will help keep the crown around for a long time.