dental crown laying on a table

What Are Dental Crowns Made From?

Crowns are used to cap your natural tooth or teeth to protect them from further damage. Oftentimes, a crown is used to restore a tooth that has been severely decayed and the filling is too large or for a tooth that has a crack. This dental aesthetic can be placed on any tooth in your arch. However, when we are considering restoring prominent teeth, such as front teeth, we want to make sure that the tooth looks as natural as possible…which is why metal free crowns are usually preferable. 

What is the difference between a crown that has metal and one that is metal free? In this article, we’ll discuss the differences and what you need to know. 

Crowns Can Have Metal or Be Metal Free

Crowns, or caps on teeth, are worn by the majority of the population.  As mentioned on our website, crowns have a variety of benefits.  They strengthen the tooth, allow for color to be changed, and also allow for the tooth shape to be changed.  

The age-tested, tried-and-true crown is a metal-ceramic crown.  Metal ceramic crowns get their name from their composition.  A metal-ceramic crown has a metal core substructure that gives the crown its strength.  Then porcelain or ceramic is layered on top of that metal core. The porcelain or ceramic’s function is to allow it to look like a tooth.  The ceramic glass can be fashioned the desired shape or color.  The downside of a metal-ceramic crown is that the metal substructure can block light from passing through the tooth.

How Do I Know If There is Metal In My Crown?

You can test this on your own crown to see if you have a metal-ceramic crown.  Turn off the lights and hold up a small keychain light to the back of your front teeth.  Natural teeth will allow light to pass directly through the tooth.  A tooth with a metal-ceramic crown will impede the light to some degree.

Do Metal Free Crowns Look Better?

In the last decade all-ceramic crowns or metal free crowns, have really grown in popularity.  First, patients are becoming more educated regarding the aesthetics of a metal-ceramic crown.  Secondly, metal free crowns have really come a long way in strength. Strength was always the concern.  After all, a metal free crown is nothing more than a thin sheet of glass that must withstand a very harsh environment.  It must pulverize all of our food, slide against our opposing teeth, and do all of this in a constantly wet environment subjected to various swings in different acidity.  

The invention of lithium disilicate and zirconia has changed everything. Now patients can often achieve the needed crown strength without sacrificing the aesthetics by having their dentist use a metal free crown. 

Types of Metal Free Dental Crowns

There are several types of metal free crowns that we use in our office. Here is a look at the different options available:

  • Ceramic 
  • Porcelain
  • Zirconia

Each of these different types of crowns have different advantages over the others. Our prosthodontists will provide you with all of your options when considering the right treatment for your case.

Contact Us Today For Metal Free Crowns

If you are faced with receiving a crown, be sure and ask if an all ceramic, metal free crown is a good option for you.  Although, there are some indications when a metal free crown is not a good option, many times the dentist can accommodate. Here at Pro Dental Dallas, we are able to mill custom crowns that will match your existing tooth color and look like a natural tooth. 

Feel free to give us a call for a consultation to see if you can benefit from a metal free crown.

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