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The Gold Standard for Dental Crowns

The all-gold crown: A thing of the past?

When a tooth becomes a broken tooth, is damaged by a deep cavity, is badly discolored, or has had root canal, a crown (cap) is often the treatment of choice. A crown both rebuilds and protects the tooth against further damage. There are several types of crowns commonly used in dentistry. The main varieties include the all-porcelain, porcelain covering gold, porcelain covering a non-precious metal and the all-gold crown. Each of these types of crowns has specific advantages and disadvantages.

The most common type of crown used in dentistry today is porcelain covering gold. These crowns are durable and aesthetic, but can, over many years, cause wear of the teeth they bite against. The porcelain covering non-precious metal crown is similar to the porcelain covering gold, but has the added disadvantage of causing metal allergy in some patients due to the presence of nickel. This type of crown sometimes costs less than gold-containing crowns.

The all-porcelain crown usually has the most natural appearance, but is not nearly as durable as the other types of crowns and is often the most expensive. I sometimes recommend all-porcelain crowns for teeth in the front of the mouth, namely the incisors and canines. The all-gold crown is probably the best of them all from a dental health standpoint. All-gold crowns are durable, adapt tightly to the tooth, are very well tolerated by the gums and other soft tissues in the mouth, and do not tend to wear the tooth they bite against to any noticeable degree. All-gold crowns usually cost about the same as porcelain covering gold crowns, but are not considered cosmetically acceptable to many patients.

The all-gold crown is quickly becoming a relic of the past. Today's sophisticated dental patient is well aware of the cosmetic dental procedures available and will often opt for the more natural and visually appealing ones. Even so, I still often recommend the all-gold crown for areas that are not highly noticeable (in the back of the mouth), or for patients that are not too concerned with appearance. All gold crowns have been around for decades and still are considered the "gold standard" for quality dental care.

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