What are Dental Crowns Made of and Which Type is Best for You?

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Do you need a dental crown, but don’t know the first thing about them? You’re probably wondering: why do I even need one? What are dental crowns made of? How much do dental crowns cost? Here I provide the answers to all those big questions.

A dental crown is a tooth-shaped cap that is placed over your cracked or missing tooth. If your tooth lacks stability to function the way it should, a crown will restore the size, strength, appearance and functionality of your original tooth.

You know you need a dental crown when…

  • The tooth needs support to remain in one piece after becoming weakened or broken from dental decay
  • You need to restore a broken, missing or severely worn down tooth
  • You need to place a crown over a dental implant
  • You need to support a dental bridge
  • You need to cover a disfigured or discolored tooth (from enamel erosion, for example)
  • Your tooth has had a root canal

If you need a crown in a highly visible area of your mouth, go for…

All-porcelain or all-ceramic. Need a crown, but worried about how it may look? These crowns allow dentists to choose a shade of white that most closely matches your teeth.

All-porcelain or all-ceramic are the most aesthetically pleasing, making them a great option for replacing front teeth.

This type may also be more suitable for patients with metal allergies.

Porcelain-fused-to-metal. Besides all-ceramic crowns, these look the most like normal teeth. These crowns have a metal substructure with porcelain over it. You mostly see the tooth-colored porcelain layer.

However, sometimes the metal laying underneath the crown’s porcelain can show a dark line down by the gums, especially if gums start to recede.

If you need a crown to replace your molar, you may choose…

A gold metal crown. These crowns are typically made of gold alloy. Gold crowns have the most longevity, as they rarely chip or break.

Gold crowns are good for replacing or covering out-of-sight molars, as molars need to be strong to bite and chew hard foods. Because they are gold in color, they were and sometimes are still indicated for protecting our farthest back molars that are not visible.
This type of crown may be best if you have a very deep bite or severe TMJ disorder that would require the strongest, most durable, and malleable crown material (i.e. gold — which is called “the gold standard” for this reason).

Gold crowns are indicated when patients’ biting or severe TMJ habits greatly increase the risk of breaking the porcelain on the back molars.

A porcelain crown is a more brittle material and less malleable than an all gold crown.

If you’re wondering what may affect the cost…

  • Crown material. The price of your crown will vary depending on the type of crown you choose. All-porcelain crowns are typically more expensive than gold crowns, and gold crowns cost more than porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns.
  • Your insurance. Depending on your situation, your insurance may cover a portion of the crown’s cost. Talk to your insurance company to explore options.

To be certain of insurance coverage, request a pre-authorization for the crown before the procedure to guarantee your provider covers at least a percentage of the cost.

While this process is helpful, be aware it may take 4-6 weeks to get the pre-approval from insurance.

  • Procedure. I do not charge depending on whether you are replacing a molar or an incisor. However, some dentists might. This could influence the price of your crown.
  • Geographic location. The price of your crown can depend on what area of the country in which you live. The cost of shipping from the dental lab can vary depending on your dentist’s proximity to it.

No matter why you need a crown, and no matter what type you need, your dentist should be extremely cooperative in helping you make the best decision. It’s always important to know all of your options.


Call us today with any questions or to book your appointment!

Glendale:  414-352-1600 or Greendale:  414-421-2303


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