Differences In Crowns
All crowns are not created equal. There are many different types and qualities of crowns that depend on the individual needs of each patient, the laboratory that is used to make the crowns, the choice of metal used, whether or not porcelain or acrylic is used, etc. Sometimes, even plastic crowns are made that are “temporary” in nature designed to last from a few months to a few years.
In general, crowns that are made with porcelain closely resemble natural tooth color. Since teeth naturally come in many variations of “white,” accurate shading is a skill that must be mastered by each dentist, and each dentist’s abilities are unique. This shade must then be communicated to a laboratory technician who can accurately and artistically duplicate it in porcelain. Just like buying a painting, better artists usually get paid much better than average artists. Therefore, the fee charged for a crown should probably reflect the skills and abilities of both the dentist and the laboratory. Therefore, it would be unrealistic to expect the same esthetic quality from a crown that costs $500 as one that costs $900.
Often, gold alloys are used to provide strength for crowns. They can be used alone to provide very durable crowns that are metallic in color. Covering the metal with porcelain is also common practice. The amount and types of metals used in these alloys also affect the shade of the porcelain. For instance, less expensive, nickel-containing alloys often yield a very gray hue to the overlying porcelain while very high noble metals that are warm yellow gold color often give a very life-like appearance to overlying porcelain.
Crown therapy is one of the best services that dentists can provide, if done properly and if done in the right patient. While fillings have an average lifespan of about 7 years, crowns have an average lifespan of 15+ years in the right patient and if placed properly. All restorations will likely break down with time and need to be replaced. However, crowns are one of the best and probably the most durable of dental treatments available.