Tooth fillings are usually mentioned in conjunction with cavities or holes in the tooth that simply need plugged to protect the structural integrity of the tooth. But a few of the filling materials are also used in crafting dental crowns.
Dental crowns are essentially an onlay filling, which means that goes across more of the surface of the tooth to correct multiple integrity issues at once. There a different degrees of crowns that vary in how much of the existing tooth is covered. A full crown covers the entire tooth that appears above the gum line, while a three-quarter crown covers most of the tooth and an onlay only covers the top.
A few different filling materials are appropriate for dental crowns and each has its own advantages and disadvantages.
Gold alloy fillings are one of the most durable and versatile filling materials. This also means gold is one of the most expensive filling materials.
A gold crown is obviously not going to match your natural tooth, but if you like the look of gold or the tooth is in the back of your mouth, this is still a valid option. If your primary concern is durability, and you have no financial concerns, this choice might serve you well for decades to come.
A ceramic filling is made of porcelain. The result is tooth-colored, relatively durable and about mid-range in crown pricing. Porcelain is also good at withstanding potential surface stains from food and drink.
The natural coloring is the major selling point for this type of crown because the color extends the full length of the piece. Cheaper porcelain crowns use metal as a supporting material. That's fine for full crowns where the metal will rest up against the gum line. But if you need a three-quarter or onlay crown, that metallic line is going to become noticeable.
A combination of base metals are used to create an amalgam crown, which will have a silver appearance. Amalgam isn't as strong as gold but is far cheaper and durable enough for most patients. This material provides one of the easiest to make and install fillings.
The relative ease of amalgam comes from the fact that the material can easily bond to a tooth regardless of its current condition. Gold and composite crowns might require some dental filing to help the materials better bond with the surface of the natural tooth.
Contact a dentist, such as one from Dillon Family Dental PLLC, for further assistance.