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The Advantage Of A Gold Dental Crown In Houston, TX

Gold dental crowns are a time-tested way of restoring your smile for decades or even a lifetime…

By Jennifer
Photography by Pete

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Dental crowns are used to cover up a tooth that has been severely decayed, chipped, cracked, or broken. They’re also often used to reinforce teeth after a root canal or replace missing teeth, such as with a dental bridge or implant. Crowns are more extensive than a dental filling, covering the entire visible surface of the tooth. They take on much more of the daily pressures and force your tooth experiences every day from biting, eating, and even clenching your jaws. This means that a dental crown needs to be made of much sturdier materials than a standard filling’s dental composite.

What are dental crowns made of? There are several common materials that our dentists commonly use, from porcelain and metals to a combination of the two:

Porcelain. All-porcelain crowns are generally strong, but their greatest advantage is aesthetic. They can look nearly identical to your natural enamel, making them the crown of choice for front teeth. They’re also metal-free, which can help people with allergies. However, they can be prone to chipping, cracking, and breaking under enough pressure without a robust metal base. This can be especially worrying for patients with a nightly habit of grinding or clenching their teeth.

Porcelain-fused-to-metal (PFM). PFM crowns combine a metal base and a porcelain exterior to provide both strength and aesthetics. While the porcelain surface can closely mimic the shade of the enamel, they are not quite as realistic-looking as all-porcelain. The metal base allows these crowns to be more durable than all-porcelain crowns; they are much less likely to break under the strain your tooth faces daily. Still, PFM dental crowns have a similar lifespan as all-porcelain crowns.

Metals. Metal crowns are some of the strongest and longest-lasting dental crowns available, typically lasting more than a decade or two longer than porcelain types. They are made from various metal alloys, including nickel, chromium, palladium, platinum, and gold. However, the main drawback of metal dental crowns is that they don’t look natural and can be easy to spot. For this reason, they are mostly placed solely on out-of-sight back teeth like molars and premolars.

One type of metal dental crown blows the others out of the water: gold. Gold has been a staple of dental care for 4,000 years, and its use in dental crowns is no exception. While these crowns are still made from several metal alloys rather than 100% elemental Au, they typically range from 10 to 22-karat gold. Most gold crowns are about 16 karats, which is about 67% gold. 22-karat crowns are as much as 92% gold. The more gold used, the more valuable and beneficial it can be for your tooth’s health and crown’s success.

Here are just a few of the many advantages of a gold dental crown:

Long-Lasting and Durable

The best part about gold crowns is that they are highly durable and incredibly long-lasting. Metal is highly resistant to wearing down, chipping, or breaking, making these crowns extremely durable. This makes them popular with back teeth and molars, which need strong crowns that can withstand the full biting power of these teeth. Gold, in particular, has the unique advantage of being softer and wearing down at the same rate as enamel. Your crown also won’t damage the opposite teeth when biting down or eating, even after years and decades.

How long do gold crowns last? Gold crowns can easily last 30 to 50 years on average. With good care and attention, many patients can keep their gold dental crowns in excellent condition for a lifetime. They are easily one of the longest-lived types of dental crowns available. To get the most out of your dental crown, we recommend practicing good oral hygiene and paying regular visits to your dentist.

Even other metal crowns made of nickel, chromium, platinum, and palladium are not quite as durable. On average, base metal crowns last about 20 to 25 years, though they can last more than 30 when taken care of well. Porcelain-type dental crowns have an even shorter lifespan of about 5 to 15 years as they are more brittle and wear down faster over time.

Aesthetic

Gold crowns can’t blend in with your natural smile like porcelain-type ones. However, many patients prefer gold’s regal appearance to any other silver-colored metal crown. Gold has been a symbol of wealth for thousands of years, and a gold tooth is often seen as a fashion statement for people wanting to show off their big wallets. Gold dental crowns also don’t corrode or stain like other metal crowns. This means your tooth will keep its shine for as long as you have it—which can easily be your entire lifetime!

Less Preparation

Gold crowns are slightly thinner than most other types of dental crowns while still not impacting their durability and longevity. What does this mean exactly? Your tooth will require less preparation than other crowns. To ensure the crown fits, the target tooth must be shaved down and trimmed. With a thinner crown, the dentist can leave more of the base tooth intact. This both keeps the tooth stronger and healthier while also saving you more time in the dental chair.

Cost

While gold itself can be costly, gold dental crowns can be surprisingly affordable compared to other crown materials. Is a gold crown cheaper than porcelain? In many cases, yes. All-porcelain crowns are the most expensive dental crown material due to their unmatched appearance and aesthetic. In comparison, a patient’s gold dental crown cost is much more affordable, often within the same range as a PFM crown. Gold crowns are still more costly than a base alloy metal crown. Still, their unrivaled longevity often makes them a much better investment overall.

Dental crowns are also covered by dental insurance. Most providers cover 50% of the cost, though this can differ depending on your specific plan. Please note that dental implants are often not covered by insurance. (Some full coverage plans may provide part of the implant’s dental crown cost.) At Nu Dentistry Houston, we accept all PPO dental plans. However, for patients without insurance, we also offer alternative financing options, which you can check out here. If you have any questions about your dental crown cost, please call our dental office and schedule a consultation with our dental team.

Is A Gold Crown Better Than Porcelain?

Ultimately, which crown is best changes on a case-by-case basis. It depends on each patient’s specific needs and personal preferences. Some patients value a crown’s appearance the most, so all-porcelain crowns are often their go-to for all teeth, both in the front and the back. However, other patients prefer function over aesthetics. They may want a gold crown for their damaged molars and other back teeth. Let’s take a quick look at both the advantages and disadvantages of both:

Gold Crowns

Pros:

  • Unrivaled strength and durability
  • Can last 20 to 30 years more (or longer) than porcelain
  • Resistant to corrosion and stains
  • Requires minimal tooth reshaping
  • Wears down slower, at the same rate as enamel
  • Gentler and less harmful on opposite teeth

Cons:

  • Unnatural appearance
  • Can cause allergic reactions to metal

Porcelain Crowns

Pros:

  • Most realistic appearance; can look like a real tooth
  • Best option for front teeth
  • Adequate strength
  • Entirely metal-free (no allergic reactions)

Cons:

  • Prone to chipping and fractures under pressure
  • Can wear down opposing teeth over time
  • Doesn’t last as long as metal or gold crowns
  • More costly than gold crowns

In many cases, PFM crowns can use gold as their base metal rather than most non-precious metal alloys. This lets patients compromise between these two choices for a combination of both aesthetics and durability.

Are you ready to get your smile fixed up and shiny for a lifetime with a gold tooth crown? Call our Houston dental office today to schedule an appointment with our expert dentists.

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