Pros and Cons of Popular Dental Crown Materials

woman with chin on her hand

Picking the Right Crown for Your Tooth

Dental crowns are a popular restorative and cosmetic dentistry solution for repairing damaged, weakened teeth or covering aesthetic flaws, such as chips or permanent discoloration. All dental crowns perform the same function of enveloping a tooth in a protective, durable material, but there are a few different types of dental crowns, categorized by material.

The material of your dental crown will impact overall treatment time, upfront cost, and long-term value or longevity. For these reasons, it’s important to consider what type of dental crown you’re planning to receive in order to select the best choice.

Let’s take a look at the most common dental crown materials and their unique characteristics.

Metal or Gold Dental Crowns

Silver crowns, or stainless steel crowns, are often used in pediatric dentistry to treat baby teeth, but are rarely used on adult teeth. Gold crowns are very eye-catching and give the classic “gold tooth” appearance. However, they are very visually obvious, and not as popular as most patients want as natural-looking a smile as possible. That being said, gold crowns do have a few advantages.

Pros of Gold Crowns:

  • Strongest material available for crowns.
  • Gentle on neighboring teeth.
  • Typically requires less enamel removal for placement.
  • Excellent upfront cost vs. long-term value.

Cons of Gold Crowns:

  • Doesn’t have a natural or subtle appearance.
  • Often much more expensive in upfront cost.
  • Not appropriate for patients with metal allergies.


Gold crowns are super strong, last a very long time, and don’t cause enamel wear on neighboring teeth. However, their very bold appearance and high cost mean that they are often only used when a patient specifically requests a gold tooth.

Porcelain Dental Crowns

Porcelain dental crowns are a fantastic dental crown option and the most popular choice for both restorative and cosmetic treatment. These crowns are made of a specialized ceramic material that can replicate the natural translucency and color of a real tooth. They allow for a beautifully finished tooth that is essentially indistinguishable from the rest of your smile. 

Pros of Porcelain Crowns:

  • Ultra-realistic in appearance.
  • Widely available in dental offices (including Laurel Manor Dental).
  • Durable and long-lasting. 

Cons of Porcelain Crowns:

  • Not ideal for patients with bruxism.
  • Requires a two-week wait for the permanent crown.
  • Temporary crown necessary during the waiting period.


Porcelain dental crowns are versatile, stunningly beautiful, and will last for 10 to 15 years or more with proper care. They are very strong and often used on front teeth since they mimic natural teeth so well. However, porcelain crowns may be more prone to cracking or chipping if a patient has severe bruxism. In this case, your dentist may recommend an alternative.

PFTM Dental Crowns

PFTM is short for “porcelain-fused-to-metal.” PFTM crowns have two materials in their design:a porcelain shell and a metal or stainless steel base. These crowns are still a fairly common choice, though advances in pure porcelain and other non-metal crowns have made them less popular. 

Pros of PFTM Crowns:

  • Great long-term durability and overall lifespan.
  • Metal base provides more strength than pure porcelain.
  • Offers a more natural appearance than a metal crown.

Cons of PFTM Crowns:

  • Also not ideal for patients with bruxism.
  • May develop an unsightly gray band where the tooth meets the gum.


PFTM dental crowns aren’t as popular as they once were because modern non-metal materials are just as durable and also more attractive in appearance. PFTM may still be used for patients that need the added strength of a metal base, but this metal base may also be visible, leaving a dark or grayish appearance along the gum line of the treated tooth.

Zirconia Dental Crowns

Zirconia dental crowns are a newer material, especially when compared to porcelain or metal crowns. They offer the beauty of porcelain crowns with the strength and longevity of metal or PFTM crowns. However, being a relatively new material, not all dental offices offer zirconia crowns. The higher cost of these crowns may also not be worth it for patients who would do just as well with a porcelain crown.

Pros of Zirconia Crowns:

  • Really beautiful and ultra-realistic finish.
  • Highly durable and appropriate for placement on molars.
  • Can last longer than porcelain crowns.

Cons of Zirconia Crowns:

  • More expensive than porcelain or PFTM crowns.
  • Can be trickier to color match to neighboring teeth.


Zirconia dental crowns have awesome benefits, but their higher cost does mean they aren’t as affordable a choice for patients. Not all dental offices offer zirconia crowns for this reason.

Porcelain Dental Crowns at Laurel Manor Dental

Laurel Manor Dental provides patients with beautiful porcelain dental crowns under most circumstances. In the event a porcelain crown may not be the best choice, we will have a customized dental crown made of a different material designed for your smile. If you’d like to learn more about dental crowns or you’re ready to book a visit, you can either call our office in The Villages, FL, or request a visit online.