Dental Crowns – What Types of Dental Crowns Are Available?

Dental crowns are caps that encase teeth and they protect damaged, broken or decayed teeth. They also protect sensitive teeth from sensitivity by creating a barrier between the tooth nerves and sugars, acids, hot and cold foods.


Crowns can also restore a misshapen or damaged tooth for cosmetic reasons. The procedure involves numbing the tooth/teeth and then shaping it.

Porcelain Crowns

Porcelain crowns are a highly aesthetic and natural looking replacement for damaged teeth. They are designed to look like the original tooth and outwardly mimic its colour, shape and size. These crowns are used to restore a tooth that is damaged due to decay or that has a large filling, crack or chip. They are also recommended for teeth that have had root canal treatment, to cover a dental implant and even for crooked teeth to make them appear straighter.

Getting porcelain crowns usually requires two visits to the dentist as they cannot be made in one appointment unless your dentist has a CEREC machine, which is the case at VC Dental. During the first visit the tooth that will get the crown is prepared by shaping it and filing down its surface to create space for the crown, this is done using a dental drill.

Then the crown is fabricated in a dental laboratory, this can be either with a’monolithic’ (solid) CAD/CAM milled crown or an Empress or Procera crown which are all high translucent ceramics. With these crowns, different shades and translucencies are layered on each part of the crown to achieve the best colour match and optical quality compared with a real tooth. The downside of these is that they may not be suitable for people who clench or grind their teeth as this can cause them to wear down more easily against the other teeth.

Metal Crowns

Crowns made from metals can withstand the bite and chewing forces of teeth. They do not discolor as quickly as porcelain crowns and look good in the back of the mouth. They are also relatively inexpensive. However, it is important to note that they can be more prone to fracture than their ceramic counterparts and they don’t work as well for patients with bruxism or those with very thin gum tissues.

For the most natural-looking crowns, consider a porcelain-fused-to-metal option, where the crown has a metal substructure that is covered by porcelain. The downside is that the underlying metal may create a dark line at the gum line over time.

Some people might experience allergic reactions to metallic crowns, even when the noble metals used (gold, silver and platinum) are not considered reactive. If you are prone to allergies, talk to your dentist about possible alternatives like resin crowns.

Metal dental crowns can interfere with MRI imaging, so you will need to avoid them if you are planning on getting any medical treatments that require an MRI. Additionally, the metals in metal dental crowns can cause a magnetic attraction to the magnets used for X-rays. This can affect the images and potentially lead to injury if the crown is attracted and then suddenly flung off of the tooth.

Zirconia Crowns

Zirconia crowns are the strongest of all dental restorations. This material is a great choice for patients who want a long-lasting, durable crown that can withstand chewing and biting forces and resist fracturing. They also resist wear better than porcelain crowns, meaning they are less likely to crack or chip over time. Zirconia crowns are made of a monolithic all-ceramic material that is fabricated into a final restoration using a CAD/CAM machine and baked at ultra-high temperatures to create a tooth-like ceramic with a glassy appearance and translucency similar to natural teeth.

Unlike PFM crowns, zirconia is metal-free, which can help prevent darkening of the gum line due to recession over time and it can eliminate allergic reactions in patients with sensitivities to the alloys used in PFM fabric. It can also reduce the risk of metal corrosion and sensitivity in patients with thin biotypes who are more susceptible to this issue.

Because zirconia is so strong, it can often be fabricated into a crown in one visit, cutting down on chairtime and the need for multiple visits. It also holds up to bruxism and parafunctional habits (teeth grinding) and is a good choice for patients with a history of jaw joint problems.

Ceramic Crowns

Whether used to repair damage or replace a missing tooth, dental crowns are important for many reasons. Not only do they help restore the natural beauty of your smile, but they also prevent further damage to teeth or bite misalignments. They can even prevent the movement of other teeth into empty spaces, a condition known as malocclusion, which can lead to further problems such as jaw bone deterioration and temporomandibular joint (TMJ) dysfunction.

Depending on the type of crown you choose, your dentist will first prepare the tooth to receive the restoration by filing down portions of its chewing surface and sides. They will then take an impression of the tooth, either digitally or with traditional putty-like impression materials. Using this information, they will design your custom crown. Then, the impression or 3D image will be sent to a lab where it will be made. If your dentist uses a CEREC machine, they can create the crown in-office, so you won’t need to wait for a second appointment.

If you decide on a porcelain crown, the most realistic option is a porcelain-fused-to-metal crown (PFM), which combines the strength of metal with the natural look of porcelain. The only drawback to PFM crowns is that the underlying metal can sometimes show through the porcelain, making it less attractive than an all-porcelain crown.