Comparison between different types of crowns: advantages and disadvantages

In many clinical situations there is a need to place dental prostheses due to the absence of one or more teeth. In this case, prostheses can be either fixed or removable, i.e. removable prostheses.

In those cases in which the dentist sees the possibility of placing a fixed prosthesis, the same question will always be asked: is it better to use metal/porcelain or zirconium crowns (caps)? The differences between them, as well as their indications, will be explained below.

In the case of fixed dental prostheses, we are talking about crowns and dental bridges. In fact, this type of dental prosthesis is used in many cases, such as when a tooth is very endodontic, when it is reconstructed or when the color is not to the patient’s liking.

The odontologist who finds it necessary to use a fixed dental prosthesis will be in charge of advising the patient on the different materials with which he/she will have to work. Thus, the professional will recommend and advise in each case which option is the most appropriate, although below are the different differences between the materials used for dental prostheses.

Differences between crowns

  • Metal/porcelain: in this case, its main advantage is its hardness, as it is ideal for molars in patients with bruxism, that is, when for various reasons (mainly stress) patients grind and clench their teeth at night. In these cases, and if necessary, the use of an unloading splint will be recommended, which is not the same as the whitening ones, since these are softer and therefore have less resistance.
    • In fixed dental prostheses made of porcelain-metal, the interior of the prosthesis is metallic, and will be covered with porcelain to imitate a natural tooth. However, and due to the metallic core, these pieces are not very translucent, and in cases in which over the years a piece of porcelain may be lost, the metallic interior will be visible.
    • At the same time, when there are small retractions in the gums, there is the inconvenience that they can leave a metallic arch visible at the junction of the crown and the gum.
    • Finally, it should be noted that metal/porcelain dental prostheses are cheaper than zirconium prostheses.
  • Zirconium: in this case, it is a high-strength porcelain that is completely white, which gives a more esthetic result and also allows light to pass through the dental piece.
    • They are light and very resistant pieces, in fact zirconium is at the same level as metal prostheses, with the difference that they are much more esthetic.
    • In addition, they are pieces that have more insulating capacity, so they allow eating very cold and hot food without discomfort.
    • Economically they are more expensive, but this is due to the fact that the materials are more expensive and require a higher technological cost. However, the grinding of the tooth is very similar to that of metal/porcelain crowns.
    • One of its advantages is that when small gum recessions occur, dark edges are not seen as they are in metal/porcelain crowns.
    • If over the years a small piece of the crown were to break off, it would show a natural color that could be solved with a simple filling.
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For more information, please consult with our specialist in dental esthetics.