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A gold tooth crown is a cap that fits over a tooth to restore its form and function after breakage, decay, or root canal treatment. Dentists also use gold crowns to replace missing teeth with dental bridges or partial dentures.
Gold is one of the oldest tooth repair materials in the dental industry. But laboratories can now make dental crowns from various materials, including metal, porcelain, zirconia, or porcelain-fused-to-metal (PFM).
A gold crown is a type of metal crown that may be made of gold alloy or PFM that fuses gold and porcelain. Because gold in pure form is soft and malleable, laboratories mix it with other metals to create dental crowns.
Gold crowns typically consist of three types of metal alloys:1
Gold crowns have numerous benefits and are extremely durable. They’re a great option for people who have signs of heavy wear on their teeth.
Some benefits of gold crowns include:2
Most people only need to have a gold crown replaced if the tooth underneath becomes injured or decayed. They’re a great investment and cost-effective over time.
People who prefer natural tooth-colored crowns may be opposed to the highly visible color and shine of a gold crown, especially on the front teeth. However, for others, the appearance of gold crowns is part of the reason they choose this type of dental restoration.
Aside from aesthetic concerns, on rare occasions, gold crowns may trigger an allergic reaction if you have a metal allergy. Here are the side effects to look out for:3
You can expect to pay from $800 to $2500 for a gold crown. Gold crowns are a costly investment because gold is an expensive material.
The specific price you’ll pay can vary by the dental office, location, and where the crown is placed in the mouth. Usually, insurance doesn’t fully cover the cost, but it’s worth checking your coverage with your insurer.
Dental crowns differ in their materials, price points, advantages, and disadvantages.
Here’s how they compare:
Porcelain crowns are the most popular type of crown because they’re strong and aesthetically pleasing. Because their natural appearance matches your surrounding teeth in shape, size, and color, they’re the best option for front tooth restorations.
Also, as they contain only porcelain and no metal, they’re free of toxins and rarely cause allergic reactions.
However, they’re not as strong as gold crowns and are not suitable for people who grind their teeth.
The price of a gold crown varies due to the price influxes of gold in the stock market.
PFM crowns are another popular and widely used type of dental crowns that have been popular for decades. Laboratories fabricate these hybrid crowns with a metal alloy interior and a porcelain exterior. They combine the strength and durability of metal crowns with the aesthetics of porcelain crowns.
Although a PFM crown is less costly than a porcelain crown or gold crown, there are some drawbacks. For example, you may notice a gray line at the gum because of its metal interior. Normally, the gum covers the gray line, but it can show if the gum line recedes. Some people dislike the dark line, particularly on the front teeth.
Also, compared to other options, dentists must remove more of the natural tooth to fit a PFM dental crown.5
Because PFM crowns have an opaque metal base underneath the porcelain layer, they don’t usually mimic the natural transparency of teeth, and the crown may appear more flat or opaque than neighboring teeth.
If you select a PFM dental crown, you should also be aware that you could have an adverse reaction if you have sensitivities to certain metals.
PFM crowns are cheaper than gold or porcelain crowns and typically cost $500 to $1,500 per tooth, depending on the metal alloy used.
Zirconia crowns are made of incredibly durable “ceramic steel” that can last as long as gold crowns.6 But unlike gold, zirconia resembles the appearance of natural teeth.
Another advantage of zirconia crowns is that many dental professionals can cut and shape them in their clinics. This could mean a same-day procedure, rather than waiting for a laboratory to manufacture a permanent crown and then returning to the dentist.
Although zirconia crowns have many advantages, you can expect to pay upwards of $1,000.
In addition to the cost, another concern is the material’s durability. Because the material is so strong, it can erode opposing teeth, which isn’t an issue with gold crowns.8
There are different types of dental crowns available. Gold crowns, for example, are strong, durable, and can last a lifetime with proper care.
However, some people don’t like the appearance of gold crowns. In these cases, they might choose porcelain or PFM crowns instead, which blend in with your natural teeth.
Your dentist can advise you on the type of crown that’s best for your oral health and budget.
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