Gold vs. Porcelain Crown—Which Is Right for You?

Dental crowns are one of the most effective solutions for restoring the strength, functionality, and aesthetics of a tooth that has been damaged due to decay, trauma, or other oral health complications. They play an essential role in not just providing a patient with a beautiful smile, but also in ensuring oral health and wellbeing.

There are various types of dental crowns available in today’s market, but two options that have stood the test of time are gold and porcelain crowns. Let’s look at the specifics of each dental treatment, including their durability, cost, and appearance, to help you decide which one is right for you.

What are Dental Crowns?

A dental crown, sometimes referred to as a “cap,” is a type of dental restoration that completely encircles or “caps” a tooth or dental implant. Crowns are often needed when a large cavity threatens the health and strength of a tooth. They are typically bonded to the tooth using dental cement.

Dental crowns can be made from a wide range of materials, including stainless steel, precious metals such as gold alloy, or ceramic. Crowns are used to improve the strength or appearance of teeth. When properly maintained with good oral hygiene and regular dental check-ups, they can provide a long-term solution for damaged or decayed teeth.

Gold Crowns (Gold Alloy Crowns)

Gold tooth crowns have been popular in the dental industry for many years because they are extremely durable and effective at protecting damaged or broken teeth. However, because they are gold in color, they are mostly used for back molars that aren’t visible when smiling or eating.

Here are some things to consider regarding gold dental crowns.

Durability

One of the biggest advantages gold alloy crowns offer is their durability. The strong material ensures that the crown does not fracture or break under pressure, even in high-stress chewing areas, which makes them an ideal choice for molars. They can last for many years, even decades, with proper care.

Cost

Because gold is a precious metal, the cost of this type of crown can be relatively high. The exact cost can vary based on various factors, including the complexity of the procedure. However, considering their durability and long lifespan, gold crowns often prove to be a cost-effective solution in the long run.

Appearance

When it comes to appearance, gold crowns are very noticeable. They do not blend with natural teeth, which many people find unappealing. However, if the crown is being placed on a less visible tooth, it may be a suitable choice.

Biocompatibility

For people with metal allergies, it’s crucial to discuss this concern with your dentist prior to choosing a crown material. While gold is often well-tolerated compared to other kinds of crowns like stainless steel crowns, some gold alloys used in dentistry can contain other metals, such as palladium, copper, or even small amounts of nickel, which could potentially cause an allergic reaction in sensitive individuals.

Porcelain Crowns (Ceramic Crowns)

Porcelain crowns are an increasingly popular type of dental crowns due to their natural appearance. Porcelain dental material looks very natural and can be matched to the color of adjacent teeth, which makes them much more appealing than gold or metal crowns.

If you’re considering your options for crowns, here are some things to keep in mind about porcelain dental crowns.

Durability

While the porcelain material is durable, rarely chips, and can withstand the pressure of biting and chewing, dental porcelain is not quite as robust as its gold counterpart. However, with good oral hygiene and regular dental visits, standard porcelain crowns can still last for many years.

Cost

The cost of porcelain crowns is typically similar to or slightly higher than gold crowns. Again, the final cost can depend on various factors, but you can expect a high-quality porcelain crown to be a worthy investment.

Appearance

The appearance of porcelain crowns is what makes them such a popular choice. They can be color-matched to your natural teeth, so you don’t have to worry about a highly visible metallic color distracting from your natural smile. This makes them an excellent choice for front teeth restorations.

Biocompatibility

Porcelain crowns are widely recognized for their high degree of biocompatibility, which means you’re less likely to have an adverse reaction compared to other types of crowns that contain metal. They’re made from a type of ceramic that closely mimics the properties of the natural tooth structure, which makes them not only aesthetically pleasing but also comfortable and safe for long-term use.

Caring for Your Dental Crowns

Whether you choose a gold or porcelain crown, proper care is essential to prolong their lifespan and maintain your oral health.

  1. Good Oral Hygiene: As with natural teeth, crowns require regular brushing and flossing. Even though crowns cannot decay, the tooth underneath can, and gum disease can still occur. 
  2. Regular Dental Check-ups: Regular visits to the dentist can help identify any issues early before they become significant problems. Your dentist can also professionally clean areas that are difficult to reach at home. 
  3. Avoid Hard Foods: Chewing hard foods or non-food items (like pens, ice, or fingernails) can damage both natural teeth and crowns, particularly porcelain ones. 
  4. Wear a Mouthguard: If you grind your teeth at night, consider asking your dentist about a mouthguard to protect your crowns and prevent unnecessary wear.

How to Choose Your Dental Crown Material

Choosing between a gold and porcelain crown depends on personal preference, your budget, and your specific dental needs. Both have their unique advantages and can effectively restore the function and look of your smile.

At Legacy Dentistry of Virginia, we understand the importance of making the right choice for your oral health, and we’re here to help you understand your dental crown options. Our team of experienced dental professionals will work closely with you to understand your specific needs and guide you toward the best decision.

Contact us today to schedule an appointment to learn more about dental crowns and how we can help restore your smile.

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