If you’re dealing with tooth decay or a broken tooth, your dentist might recommend a dental crown, which can help prevent further damage. When you’ve decided on a tooth crown, there are several options when it comes to what type of crown you will get. It’s important to understand these options, so you can understand your dentist’s recommendation. 

What is a crown?

A crown is a cap for a tooth, typically for a damaged one. The purpose of a tooth crown is to help protect the tooth and improve its size, shape, or appearance. Once cemented in place, the crown covers the entire visible tooth. There are many reasons why you might need a dental crown, including protecting a weakened tooth, restoring a broken tooth, or holding a dental bridge in place. 

Types of tooth crowns

Your dentist will consider a variety of factors before making a recommendation regarding your tooth crown’s type. They’ll look at things like the tooth location, how much tooth is still showing, and the color of your surrounding teeth. You can always bring up your personal preference to your dentist as well. 

There are also temporary crowns and permanent crowns. Your dental office will likely make a temporary crown while permanent crowns are made in a dental lab. Typically, temporary crowns are used until a permanent crown can be made. They are often made of stainless steel or acrylic-based materials. Whether you receive a temporary crown or permanent crown depends on your particular situation.

Stainless steel

Stainless steel is frequently used in pediatrics. It’s often used with children to cover a primary tooth, and the dental crown naturally comes out with the primary tooth once it’s time for the permanent tooth. Stainless steel is a common material because it fits into the mouth and doesn’t affect necessary daily tasks like chewing and brushing. They also don’t require multiple dentist visits. 


There are a variety of metals that can be used for a dental crown. The most famous of these is gold, though nowadays gold is often mixed with other metals to create a crown. Other types of metal include cobalt, chromium, and nickel. Using a mixture helps with the crown’s strength and cost. Metal crowns are stronger, rarely chip, and are very durable: they take the longest to wear down. 


Resin is less expensive than other options might be. That being said, they are also more prone to fractures, and they wear down over time. Resin is more frequently used as a temporary crown rather than a permanent crown. 

All-ceramic or porcelain

These are the most natural-looking crowns, which is why they are often used in front teeth. However, they are not as strong as other types of crowns. This type of crown may also work better for people with metal allergies. 

Porcelain fused to metal

Porcelain crowns can also be fused to a precious metal, including gold. Though this version of porcelain is stronger, these crowns are still weaker in general, so they can still chip or break. However, like regular porcelain teeth, they typically look natural, though occasionally you can see the metal beneath the porcelain cap. This makes it appear like you have a dark line at your gum line. 


You read that right — zirconia, just like cubic zirconia “diamonds”. Zirconia is a newer crown type that can create a lifelike appearance, and is categorized as a ceramic. Zirconia crowns are more durable than porcelain crowns, and do not require a metal base. Zirconia crowns may also not require as much original tooth to be removed as other crowns, are stain resistant, are temperature resistant, and can often be crafted in-house, which makes zirconia crowns a great choice for dentists and patients alike.

There are a variety of ways to create crowns because of the variety of materials available. What type of crown you may have placed is based on your situation, so it’s important to discuss your options with your dentist. Then, you can make the best decision based on your desires, situation, and cost preference. If you’re looking to have a dental crown placed, contact us today!