A dental crown is a restoration used to cover a damaged or decayed tooth to restore its shape, size, and strength. A dental crown can be made of various materials, including porcelain, ceramic, resin, and metal. Metal crowns have been around for decades and are known for their durability and strength. In this blog post, we will discuss the benefits and drawbacks of a metal crown and how it can help you maintain a healthy mouth.
Types of Dental Crowns
Dental crowns come in different types, including full metal, porcelain-fused-to-metal, ceramic, and resin. Each crown type has advantages and disadvantages, and dentists recommend them depending on their patient’s needs and oral health.
Porcelain-fused-to-metal and ceramic crowns, for instance, are known for their aesthetics and are the best option for patients who need a crown that looks natural. On the other hand, full metal crowns are recommended for cases where strength and durability are more important than appearance.
What is Metal Crown?
A metal crown is a type of dental crown made from metal alloys, such as gold alloy, palladium alloy, chromium-cobalt alloy, or titanium. The American Dental Association classifies alloys into three groups: high-noble, noble, and base metal alloys.
- High-noble alloys are mostly gold, silver, palladium, or platinum. They are the most expensive type of alloy and the most biocompatible, which means they have fewer potential adverse reactions in the body. They are used to make full metal crowns for the molars and premolars.
- Noble alloys contain more base metals, such as nickel and chromium, but less gold than high-noble alloys. They are also used to make full metal crowns for the molars and premolars.
- Base metal alloys contain mostly base metals, such as nickel, chromium, and cobalt. They are more affordable than noble and high-noble alloys. They are rarely used in full metal crowns, but they are commonly used in porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns.
Full Metal vs. Ceramic-Metal vs. Full Ceramic Crown
A full metal crown is made entirely of high-noble or noble alloys, such as gold alloys. This type is often recommended when strength and durability are more important than appearance, as it offers the best long-term protection for teeth. However, full metal crowns can be aesthetically unappealing because of their metallic appearance.
Ceramic-metal crowns (also known as porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns) combine metal with ceramic for strength and aesthetics. They are the most common type of dental crown and feature an inner core made of base-metal alloys with a porcelain layer on top. The metal core is strong enough to withstand normal biting forces. At the same time, the ceramic layer provides a more natural-looking appearance that can be matched to the patient’s natural tooth color.
Finally, full ceramic crowns are made entirely out of porcelain or other ceramic materials, such as zirconia. As they don’t contain any metal, these crowns provide the most aesthetically pleasing results. However, they are more brittle and expensive than other types of crowns.
Benefits of a Metal crown
One of the biggest advantages of full metal crowns is their strength and durability. They can withstand the forces of chewing and grinding without breaking or chipping. This makes them perfect for teeth in the back of the mouth that experience heavy chewing pressure, such as premolars and molars.
The metal crown also requires minimal removal of the tooth structure because it doesn’t need as much space for placement. This means that a more natural tooth structure can be preserved, which is beneficial for long-term tooth health. Also, it can be used in cases where there is not enough space available for a ceramic crown.
Full metal crowns don’t cause abrasion to the opposing teeth, which is a common problem with porcelain-fused-to-metal (PFM) and ceramic crowns.
In addition, full metal crowns are the least expensive option among the different types of crowns, except gold crowns. This makes them a good choice for people who are on a budget and need to have a crown placed.
Also, they can last for up to 15 years with good oral hygiene and regular dental visits.
Drawbacks of a Metal crown
However, full metal crowns do have some disadvantages. One of the drawbacks is their metallic appearance, which can make them very noticeable and unappealing. Therefore, they aren’t usually used for front teeth.
In rare cases, they can cause an allergic reaction in some people (nickel allergy). This is because metal crowns contain nickel, which is a metal allergen. For this reason, individuals who have a known sensitivity to nickel should avoid using full metal crowns.
If you don’t want to get a full metal crown, other options are available. Porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns, also known as PFM crowns, are a good alternative. They combine the strength of metal with the aesthetics of porcelain, resulting in a more natural-looking restoration.
Full ceramic crowns are the most aesthetically pleasing option, as they look like natural teeth. They are made entirely of ceramic and have the best aesthetic results of all types of crowns. However, they can be more expensive and require more tooth structure to be removed for placement than metal crowns.
Both Porcelain-fused-to-metal (PFM) and full ceramic crowns are stain-resistant.
Metal Crown – Conclusion
Full metal crowns are strong, durable, and cost-effective for restoring damaged or decayed teeth. They require minimal preparation of the tooth structure, preserving more of the natural tooth than other types of crowns. Also, they can last up to 15 years with proper oral hygiene and regular dental visits.
However, they have a metallic appearance, so they aren’t suitable for restoring front teeth. In rare cases, some people may also experience allergic reactions to metal crowns.
Alternatives are available for those wanting a more aesthetic result. Porcelain-fused-to-metal and full ceramic crowns may be better options, but they require more tooth structure to be removed during placement and can be more expensive.
If you’re considering a metal crown, discuss all the options with your dentist to determine which option is best for you.