Customizing Your Dental Crown With the Right Materials

Did you know that you might have a link to ancient history in your mouth right now? It might sound strange, but dental crowns are a surprisingly old treatment. The first known dental crowns date back to A.D. 166. These were even made from gold, which is still used today. How amazing is that? Despite the similarities, technologies, procedures, and materials have changed a lot since then. Today crowns can be made from several different materials—each of which has unique strengths and weaknesses. Together with your dentist, you can decide which material makes the most sense for your treatment needs and preferences. To help you learn which type of dental crown is best for you, we’ve broken down common dental crown materials as well as what pros and cons attract people to each.


The oldest-known material used for dental crowns is gold—and there are good reasons we continue using it! Today’s gold crowns aren’t pure gold. They contain added metals for extra strength and lower cost, but the gold offers several unique qualities. Gold is a softer metal, so it’s relatively gentle on the opposing teeth while remaining durable. With great oral hygiene, gold crowns can last anywhere from 20 years to an entire lifetime.

Gold crowns aren’t without their downsides, though, as they tend to expand and contract with changing oral temperatures, like when you eat hot or cold foods. This can cause sensitivity or crown damage over time, so it’s important to visit your dentist regularly to ensure your dental crown isn’t beginning to fail. For most people, however, the biggest downside of gold crowns is their obvious appearance. Gold crowns are typically used on your molars for this reason. This positioning allows you to take advantage of their durability and strength while keeping them in a less-noticeable spot.


Gold crowns aren’t the only type of metal crowns out there. Metal crowns are made up of a mixture of several different types of metal, achieving a silver appearance. If you’re looking for strong and affordable dental crowns, metal is a great option. Metal crowns are so strong that they can be made thinner than crowns made from other materials like resin or porcelain and allow your dentist to save more of your natural tooth during the preparation process. Their strength can cause wear on opposing teeth but gives the crowns themselves great longevity.

Like gold crowns, however, metal crowns expand and contract with changing temperatures, and they’re more likely to cause allergies or sensitivities. Thankfully you can check for the presence of an allergy before you get a metal dental crown. While they are slightly less noticeable than gold crowns, their biggest downside remains that they’re clearly visible in your mouth. But their durability and strength make them a great choice for molars. With proper care they’re sure to last a very long time without breaking your budget!


Porcelain crowns are designed to blend in with your natural teeth, so each dental crown is made specifically for you and tinted to match the shade and gloss of your natural teeth. Even the shape of your dental crown is customized to create a natural appearance and fit. Porcelain crowns aren’t quite as strong as metal crowns, so you should be careful what you’re crunching down on and commit to wearing a nightguard if you clench or grind your teeth in your sleep. But porcelain crowns can last 15 years or more with proper care. This mix of durability and natural appearance make porcelain crowns a good fit for front or back teeth.

Another major pro of porcelain crowns is that they can sometimes be placed in a single appointment rather than two, making them incredibly convenient, especially if you’re on a tight schedule. Thanks to E4D technology, Dr. Fenn can design, mill, and prepare your porcelain dental crown right in our office in just a single appointment. These same-day crowns are designed using 3D scans of your teeth, so they offer an even more natural fit. This makes the entire process not only more convenient but also more comfortable! Even better, cutting out the extra visit makes same-day crowns more affordable than traditional porcelain crowns. For many people, same-day crowns are beneficial enough that it’s worth finding a dentist near Buxton, ME, who offers them.


When it comes down to it, ceramic crowns have a lot in common with porcelain crowns. They can perfectly match the shape, shade, and gloss of your natural teeth. This makes them a particularly good choice for front teeth, although they can also be placed on back teeth. Ceramic crowns do tend to be more expensive, however, so it’s a good idea to keep your budget in mind. Just like porcelain crowns, ceramic crowns are more susceptible to cracks than metal crowns, so treat them with the same level of care you show your natural teeth. Ceramic crowns might not be the best choice if you’re prone to clenching or grinding your teeth unless you’re willing to wear a nightguard to protect your crown while you sleep. When they’re cared for properly, ceramic crowns should last about as long as porcelain crowns.


Zirconia crowns are a newer, titanium-related crown that has many properties similar to ceramic. This unique composition gives zirconia crowns a unique mix of benefits from ceramic and metal crowns. They have the strength and longevity of metal, which allows them to be made thinner and save more natural tooth structure. But because they are biocompatible, they don’t cause metal reactions or sensitivities. Plus they look more like ceramic since the metal is naturally white. Like other ceramic crowns, zirconia crowns are matched to the shape, shade, and finish of your natural teeth.

Zirconia crowns don’t blend quite as well as porcelain or ceramic, so they are often used on molars. This way you still have the durability of metal with an aesthetic closer to ceramic. This way, you can have beautiful crowns with the strength you need! Since these crowns are a much newer material, however, they tend to be more expensive than other crowns, so keep this in mind.

So many crown materials to choose from help ensure that you will receive the best results possible. If these options seem overwhelming at first, don’t worry—we’re here to help! Dr. Fenn is ready to help you form your ideal treatment plan. To get started, schedule an appointment with the Tory Hill Dental team today!