As technology progresses, the field of dentistry gains new materials, techniques and services. However, we rarely stumble upon a magic "one size fits all" approach. This is particularly true of the advancements in dental crowns. There are nearly hundreds of different crown materials and manufacturers, each with their own specific use. In this article, we will discuss four general types of dental crowns and why we use them. Enjoy!

Porcelain fused to metal- These crowns combine the esthetic properties of porcelain with the adaptability of metal. A metal framework is cast to a stone model of the prepared tooth. Afterwords, layers of porcelain are baked on, creating the look of a natural enamel. These crowns are typically used in the back of the mouth, as they are durable and resist wear to the opposing teeth. However, the metal substructure can make these crowns too opaque to be used in cosmetic applications.  

Gold- Gold crowns are less frequently used in modern dentistry due to the availability of newer, more esthetic materials. However, gold is one of the most adaptable materials available, allowing for a near seamless junction between tooth and crown. It also requires the least amount of tooth structure to be removed, but this becomes irrelevant in instances of severe decay, chips and fractures. 

Lithium Disilicate "Emax": Emax is an extremely durable and esthetic material. It can be used in nearly all areas of the mouth, although we tend to use it in cosmetic areas. Since these crowns are made from a single type of material, they transmit light very well and perfectly match natural enamel. Emax can even be stained or painted to match imperfections in the surrounding teeth!

Zirconia "BruxZir": Like Emax, BruxZir crowns are made from a single type of material (engineered zirconia). However, they trade cosmetic advantages for extreme fracture resistance and durability. BruxZir crowns are best used in patients with strong jaws or grinding problems, where other materials will not last. In fact, these crowns are hard enough to wear enamel, meaning that they need to be used judiciously and only when necessary. 

An important note is that Thousand Oaks Family Dentistry charges the same crown fee regardless of material used. We want our patients to know that we are focused on the best long term outcomes for their dental care- be it from the newest technology or tried and true methods!