Exploring Your Options: Types of Dental Crowns and Which One is Right for You

types of dental crowns

Dental crowns have been a popular option for single-tooth replacement, both in the past and in the present, especially for permanent teeth. In the past, traditional porcelain crowns were very much in demand, being the only option available to patients. However, with rapid advancements and innovations in restorative dentistry, we now have several types of dental crowns to choose from. 

This range of options poses a daunting challenge for potential crown recipients, leaving them feeling indecisive about which one to choose. However, with the right knowledge, it becomes easy for patients to determine the option that’s best suited to their dental needs.

This blog will explore all the different dental crown options available for you, helping you make an informed decision about your dental health.

What Are Dental Crowns?

Basically, a dental crown is a replacement for the visible component of a human tooth (known as the crown, hence the name dental “crown”), in which a crown-shaped cap is placed over a broken, decayed, or damaged tooth. This cap restores the appearance, function, and strength of the tooth that it’s placed over.

Apart from restoring the shape, size, and function of a damaged/decayed/broken tooth, a crown can also perform the following functions:

  • Protecting a weak tooth.
  • Restoring the integrity of a tooth that has undergone root canal treatment or other restorative procedure.
  • Replacing a lost tooth (by attaching to a dental implant).
  • Replacing several missing teeth by forming the ends of a dental bridge and providing support to it (holding it in place).

Due to their exceptional functional and aesthetic benefits, crowns are one of the most commonly used dental prosthetic devices. According to the AAID (American Academy Of Implant Dentistry), up to 15 million people in the US have had dental crowns (or dental bridge) replacements for their missing teeth.

Types Of Dental Crowns

There are several types of dental crowns, each of which is built to accommodate the diverse dental restorative needs of the patients. Let’s discuss these different types based on the design and the material of the crown.

Based On Design

The following are the two major types of dental crowns based on their design:

Tooth-Retained Traditional Crowns 

These traditional crowns are the ones that attach to natural human teeth and are used primarily in cases where a damaged, weak, or broken tooth needs to be restored. These serve a conservative function, restoring teeth without needing surgical intervention at all. The placement process of a traditional tooth-retained crown involves shaping/preparation of the tooth (which the crown intends to restore) and the consequent cementing of the crown upon the said tooth.

Implant-Retained Modern Crowns 

Implant-retained crowns represent a modern solution for replacing a single ‘missing’ tooth, as opposed to a  ‘damaged’ tooth (in which case a traditional crown is best suited). These crowns replace missing teeth with a combination of a dental implant and a crown, providing a complete and durable replacement for the lost tooth. Their placement process involves surgically inserting a dental implant into the patient’s jawbone (at the site of the missing tooth) and consequently attaching a crown to it.

Based On Material

Now that we’ve discussed the types of crowns based on their design let’s discuss the types of crowns based on their material. Each of these materials provides varying benefits to patients in terms of aesthetics and durability and can either be tooth-retained or implant-retained, depending on the patient’s needs. Dental crowns cost, therefore, also depends on the material (in addition to the design).

The following are the different materials that dental crowns are composed of:

Simple All-Porcelain Crowns 

As the name suggests, these are ‘completely’ made of porcelain (a fine type of ceramic) material. These are mainly known for their superior aesthetic look (attributed to the porcelain material), perfectly mimicking the translucent appearance of natural teeth. Due to this reason, they’re the ideal option for replacing visible front teeth and are best suited to people who prioritize aesthetics in dental restoration.

Porcelain-Fused-To-Metal (PFM) Crowns 

These are a variation on the parcel crowns described above that aim to combine the aesthetic appeal of porcelain with the sturdiness of metal. Thus, these crowns have a metal base/core (providing a robust support to the exterior) which is covered by a porcelain exterior. They are ideal for replacing front teeth and are chosen by people looking for an aesthetic replacement for their front teeth without compromising on durability.

Gold Crowns 

These are the good old gold (or gold alloy) crowns that have been used in restorative dentistry for years due to their excellent durability and biocompatibility. Gold is used in crowns because of its exceptional durability and resistance to wear and tear and allergic reactions. This excellent biocompatibility of gold crowns makes them a perfect choice for people with sensitive gums. They are ideal for the replacement of back teeth (molars) where durability is of utmost importance and where the color of gold wouldn’t pose many aesthetic concerns. 

Zirconia Crowns 

Zirconia is yet another durable material used in dental crowns, which is also very aesthetically pleasing besides being strong and durable. This perfect combination of aesthetics and durability is the reason for the increasing popularity of zirconia crowns. Besides being attractive and strong, zirconia crowns are also extremely biocompatible – meaning that they’re well tolerated by the gum tissue. It’s the perfect option for people looking for a combination of strength and aesthetics to replace their teeth, particularly for back teeth (molars). 

E-Max Crowns 

These are another type of ceramic crowns (besides all-porcelain crowns) and are made of another type of ceramic called lithium disilicate. Just like porcelain crowns, e-max crowns also offer a superior cosmetic appearance mimicking natural teeth translucency. These are a great option for both front and back teeth and are best suited to people who seek a durable and aesthetic replacement for the front and back teeth.

Which Type Of Crown Is Best For You?

Choosing the best option for yourself among the several types of dental crowns that we’ve discussed above depends on several factors, including:

  • The type of restorative need – for instance, tooth-retained crowns are best for restoring damaged teeth, whereas implant-retained crowns are best for restoring missing teeth.
  • Location of the damaged/missing tooth – porcelain/e-max crowns are the best for front teeth, whereas PFM, gold, and zirconia crowns are best for back teeth.
  • Cost of the crowns – choose the material and the design that falls under your budget.
  • Oral compatibility – people who are prone to metal sensitivities or allergic reactions are suggested to get nonmetallic (all-ceramic) crowns.


Modern restorative dentistry offers a plethora of dental crown types, encompassing both traditional and innovative designs and materials. These include tooth-retained crowns, implant-retained crowns, all-porcelain crowns, PFM crowns, gold crowns, zirconia crowns, and e-max crowns. Each of these types offers varying benefits to patients with varying dental needs.

To have a detailed evaluation of which crown type is best suited to your dental needs, book a FREE consultation with the dental experts practicing at Vaughan Smile Clinic based in Vaughan, Ontario. Our expert dental advice will help you achieve a perfect dental restorative experience.

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