Types of Dental Crowns

Dental crowns restore strength, function, shape and size to teeth after they’ve been weakened by decay. They also provide support for dental implants.


To prepare the tooth for a crown, your dentist will reshape it, often using a paste or putty. An impression will also usually be made of the shaped tooth and the teeth on both sides of your mouth to ensure the crown fits well when you bite together.

Porcelain-fused-to-metal (PFM) crowns

These types of crowns are fabricated with a metal alloy base that increases strength and the porcelain coating is bonded to it. They’re durable, able to withstand the pressure of chewing, and look more like natural teeth.

Often, these crowns are used to cover weak and damaged teeth in the front of the mouth. They also provide cosmetic improvements, such as covering discolored and misshapen teeth. Unlike other dental restorations, they encase the entire tooth to protect it from further damage or decay.

The substructure of PFM crowns is fabricated from various metal alloys that differ in the amount of noble or semi-precious metals. The alloys may be based on gold, silver, nickel, or cobalt. Those made with higher levels of noble metals are known for being more biocompatible and less likely to cause irritation or allergies. However, these alloys can be more expensive.

The disadvantages of this type of crown include the fact that it requires more of your natural tooth to prepare for it and its metal base can show through the gum line, resulting in a gray ring. Additionally, the metal can irritate gum tissue, which can lead to gingivitis. It’s best to avoid this type of crown if you have any metal sensitivities or allergies. The good news is that it’s affordable and covered by most insurances.

Zirconia crowns

Zirconia is a crystalline cousin of diamonds, and it’s far harder than gold or alloys of gold. As such, it’s an excellent choice for capping and repairing severely decayed or fractured teeth. Zirconia crowns also have a smooth surface, which reduces plaque accumulation and promotes healthy tissue response.

Zirconium is also highly biocompatible, which means it doesn’t irritate or cause an allergic reaction in patients. It’s also stronger than porcelain, which makes it ideal for constructing thin dental crowns that require less occlusal clearance.

There are a few different types of zirconia crowns, but the most popular is solid or monolithic zirconia. This type of crown is a single material that’s both strong and aesthetic, as it offers superior strength and a translucent appearance with multi-layered color.

This is a great option for patients with missing or extensively damaged teeth, as it can provide a complete and functional smile. Additionally, zirconia is stain-resistant, meaning that it won’t discolor as fast as other crown materials. Still, it’s important for patients to maintain good oral hygiene habits and avoid eating foods that are known for staining their tooth enamel. Some of the most common culprits include dark berries, coffee, tea, tomato-based sauces, and red wine. By practicing good oral hygiene and avoiding these foods, a zirconia crown can last for the patient’s lifetime.

Porcelain-fused-to-gold (PFG) crowns

A hybrid of porcelain and metal crowns, PFM crowns have a metal base with a layer of ceramic or porcelain fused on top. They are durable and cost-effective. They also have a natural appearance and can be used on teeth in both the front and back of the mouth. However, they can chip if exposed to shearing forces.

PFM crowns are often more attractive than traditional metal-based crowns, and they are able to mimic the color of natural teeth. They are ideal for repairing cracked or broken teeth. They are also used to improve the shape and size of a tooth or correct discoloration. They are stronger than porcelain veneers and can withstand more chewing stress.

The metal alloys used in PFM crowns range from expensive noble gold to inexpensive cobalt-chrome. The quality of the metals affects price and durability. Cheaper alloys are more reactive to the oral environment and can cause gum tissue sensitivity or allergies. Precious metal alloys are more durable, but they can be costly depending on the current gold price.

The durability of dental crowns depends on the materials they are made from, how well they are fabricated, and how well you maintain them. Proper oral hygiene and routine dental exams will ensure that your crowns last for as long as possible. With proper care, your crowns will look and feel like your natural teeth for years to come.

Ceramic crowns

Dental crowns perform a vital function on a daily basis; they protect teeth that have been damaged and provide the necessary support to repair them. If the damage is severe enough, even if a filling would be sufficient, a crown will need to be put in place to prevent further infection and preserve the functionality of the tooth.

There are a number of different types of crowns that are available and the choice that is best for you will be dependent upon your individual needs. Resin crowns (also referred to as composite resin or acrylic resin) are made from a combination of plastic type materials and are colour matched closely to the natural teeth. These are the most budget friendly options and can last a long time when properly cared for, however, they do not have the same aesthetic quality as ceramic or zirconia crowns.

Porcelain-fused-to-metal (PFM) crowns are custom milled using a CAD/CAM machine and contain an aluminium oxide core with a porcelain covering. These are a good option for molars that are hidden from view and have better longevity than traditional metal crowns. They are also an excellent option for patients who suffer from metal allergies. More recently, all-ceramic (porcelain) crowns have been developed and offer a more natural looking and translucent appearance than other crown types. At VC Dental, we are pleased to be able to offer the latest CEREC technology for the construction and placement of state-of-the-art, natural-looking ceramic crowns, inlays, onlays and veneers, all within a single appointment!