Types of Dental Crowns: Main Differences

Prosthetics are an effective way to restore the integrity of damaged teeth. Thanks to this technology, dentists recover both the physiological functions of the jaw and a beautiful smile. Different types of dental crowns are used depending on the diagnosis and individual characteristics of the patient.

Today, denture types differ in appearance, quality, and care principles. The classification of crowns is based on the material used for their manufacture.

Metal Crowns

Classic metal constructions used to be the only available option for dental patients. Now, they also continue to be used but more frequently. Metal products become the basis of the crown. After installation, it is covered with materials that perform the function of the outer layer.

Metal-plastic Crowns

The most budgetary solution is metal prostheses whose surface is coated with a plastic coating. As a rule, metal-plastic crowns are used as temporary prostheses. Their average service life is up to five years. It is enough time to raise funds for a more durable prosthesis.

Metal-plastic dental crowns are lightweight, easy to restore, and affordable. However, this is where the advantages of such prostheses end. They are rarely used due to low strength, discoloration during use, and lack of compatibility with surrounding oral tissues.

Metal-ceramic Crowns

These crowns differ in design features. Their frame is made of precious and non-precious metals. The coating of the structure consists of several layers of ceramics.

The advantages of metal-ceramic crowns include:

  • imitation of a healthy tooth due to the closest possible color of artificial enamel;
  • biological compatibility of materials with oral tissues, which avoids inflammatory processes;
  • more than ten years of operation.

Metal-ceramic crowns have one significant drawback — they cannot be restored. In the event of damage, patients have to re-prosthetics procedure.

Metal Composite Crowns

Externally, crowns of this type resemble metal-ceramic products. The big difference is the quality of the coverage. The design of these dentures includes a specialized photopolymer material. It guarantees the crown the following advantages:

  • Natural color;
  • Thin base;
  • Installation on any teeth or dental implant.

When choosing metal-composite structures, do not forget about their ability to be painted in other colors.

Metal-free Crowns

The metal framework is a guarantee of durability and stability. But the metal can cause allergic and inflammatory reactions. They not only worsen the well-being of patients but also cause damage to the coating of the crowns.

As modern alternatives to metal-containing prostheses, ceramic and zirconium crowns are most often used.

Ceramic Crowns

Ceramic crowns are one of the most effective modern tools for prosthetics. They can be installed both in front and in the area of chewing teeth.

Ceramics is a biologically inert material. It does not enter into chemical reactions with surrounding tissues and substances that enter the human body. Crowns of this type are safe for the human body. They do not contain potentially hazardous substances and microorganisms.

Among the main advantages of ceramic crowns are:

  • a long period of operation with proper and constant care;
  • strength and reliability of the structure;
  • inertness and hypoallergenic;
  • attractive appearance, almost absolute identity with a natural tooth.

Indications for the installation of ceramic crowns are:

  • destruction of one or more teeth in the smile zone or chewing areas;
  • noticeable defects in the dentition;
  • irregular shape, size, or location of the tooth;
  • allergic reactions to metal structures.

Not every patient can install ceramic crowns. Among the limitations and contraindications are untreated caries, old fillings, malocclusion, inflammation of the gums, thin crumbling teeth, and individual intolerance.

Zirconia Crowns

Zirconium crowns are an innovative technology in the field of prosthetics. The durable and aesthetic design consists of a zirconium frame covered with porcelain enamel. Features of the production of prostheses guarantee an ideal repetition of the size and shape of the damaged tooth. The crown fits snugly to the surrounding tissues and does not cause discomfort to the patient.

Before manufacturing zirconium products, dentists create a three-dimensional model of the jaws and teeth. The data obtained is used to set up the milling machine. It creates the frame of the prosthesis from zirconium blanks.

Among the advantages of crowns of this type:

  • Naturalness. Zirconium crowns are almost identical to natural teeth due to the translucent effect. They match the color of the patient’s enamel and are not stained with food dyes.
  • Minimum thickness. The average thickness of zirconia crowns is about 0.3 mm. It allows you to save the tooth as much as possible when installing the prosthesis, only slightly turning its surface.
  • Strength. Zirconium crowns withstand a load of incisors and chewing teeth;
  • Hypoallergenic. Zirconium is a biologically inert and compatible material that does not cause allergies, inflammation, or rejection reactions.

Many patients are wary of zirconia crowns due to their small thickness. But thin prostheses are in no way inferior to classic metal-ceramic structures in terms of service life. The service life of zirconium crowns is 15 years or more.

How Crowns are Installed

The procedure for replacing the enamel of a damaged tooth includes several successive stages.

First, the dentist examines the tooth, takes an x-ray, and makes a conclusion about its condition. In the presence of diseases, a course of treatment is mandatory. Remember that crowns can only be placed on healthy teeth.

The next step is tooth grinding. So, dentists prepare a place for the installation of the prosthesis. Then, an impression of the tooth and neighboring teeth is made, a three-dimensional crown model is created, and a color is selected.

During the structure’s fabrication, the patient constantly wears a plastic crown. After completion of the work, the prosthesis must be tried on and, in the absence of comments, fixed with dental cement.


Modern dentistry offers patients many ways to restore a healthy smile. Among the listed types of crowns, everyone will be able to choose the option that suits them.

A significant part of experts considers zirconia crowns to be the gold standard. They differ in durability, durability, practicality, and natural appearance.

Which crowns to choose? It is up to you to decide based on the diagnosis and the planned budget.

If you have any questions, please ask below!