How to Decide Which Material to Use for Your Patients’ Crowns

Dental crowns are prosthetic restorations that are used to restore damaged or weakened teeth. They play a vital role in improving both the aesthetics and functionality of the patient’s oral cavity. Selecting the appropriate material for a dental crown is crucial for ensuring long-term success and patient satisfaction. Dentists need to consider various factors when choosing the type of material for a patient’s crown, including durability, esthetics, biocompatibility, mechanical properties, cost-effectiveness, and the specific needs of the individual patient. This article discusses these factors in detail.


Durability is a critical consideration when choosing dental crown materials. The material must withstand the forces exerted during chewing and biting. Different materials have varying levels of strength and longevity. For instance, metal alloys such as gold or high-noble alloys are highly durable but lack esthetic appeal. Porcelain-fused-to-metal (PFM) crowns offer better aesthetics but may be prone to chipping or fractures over time. All-ceramic or zirconia crowns provide excellent esthetics and durability, making them suitable for both anterior and posterior teeth.


The appearance of the crown is a significant factor, especially for visible anterior teeth. Natural tooth color, translucency, and shape should be closely matched to achieve a seamless integration with the patient’s dentition. All-ceramic crowns, such as lithium disilicate or feldspathic porcelain, can mimic the optical properties of natural teeth, resulting in highly esthetic outcomes. Composite resin crowns can also provide good esthetics but may be less durable compared to ceramics.


Biocompatibility refers to the ability of a material to interact harmoniously with the oral tissues without causing adverse reactions. Dentists must consider the allergic potential and sensitivity of a patient to specific materials. Metals, especially nickel-based alloys, may cause allergic reactions in some individuals. For patients with metal allergies, all-ceramic or zirconia crowns are better alternatives. These materials have excellent biocompatibility, reducing the risk of adverse reactions.

Mechanical Properties

The mechanical properties of dental crown materials are essential for maintaining the structural integrity of the restoration. Factors such as flexural strength, fracture toughness, and resistance to wear and corrosion must be evaluated. Metal alloys, including gold and high-noble alloys, possess superior mechanical properties, making them suitable for posterior teeth subjected to high occlusal forces. Zirconia-based crowns offer excellent strength and fracture resistance, ideal for both anterior and posterior restorations. Ceramic materials have improved over time but may still require careful consideration for patients with heavy occlusion or bruxism.

Restoration Location

The location of the dental crown plays a significant role in material selection. Anterior teeth, which are more visible, require superior esthetics. All-ceramic or porcelain materials are preferred for these areas due to their ability to mimic natural teeth. Posterior teeth, on the other hand, experience higher bite forces, requiring materials with enhanced strength and durability. Metal or metal-ceramic crowns may be suitable for posterior restorations, as they offer better longevity and resistance to wear.

Individual Oral Habits & Health

Each patient’s oral habits, oral hygiene practices, and overall health should be considered when selecting a crown material. Patients with bruxism or parafunctional habits require materials with high strength and resistance to wear. Those with compromised oral hygiene may benefit from materials that are less prone to plaque accumulation, such as ceramics or composite resins. In some cases, patients with systemic conditions or allergies may require special consideration, and alternative materials may be chosen to ensure their well-being.


The cost of materials and the overall treatment cost are significant considerations for both the patient and the dentist. Different materials have varying price ranges, and the cost may influence the choice of material. Metal alloys tend to be less expensive, making them a more affordable option for patients with budget constraints. All-ceramic or zirconia crowns, while more expensive, offer superior esthetics and durability, justifying their higher cost.

Choosing the appropriate material for a dental crown is a multifactorial decision that requires careful consideration. Dentists must evaluate the durability, esthetics, biocompatibility, mechanical properties, restoration location, patient’s oral habits and health, and cost-effectiveness when selecting a material. By considering these factors, dentists can ensure that they provide their patients with optimal outcomes in terms of both functionality and aesthetics, leading to long-term satisfaction and successful dental restorations.

If you would like to learn more about clear aligners, 3D printing, or more advancements in orthodontic technology, contact the team at OrthoDenco Digital Orthodontic Laboratory today. With over 35 years of experience and 400 active accounts, we have the experience, leading reputation, and innovative 3D printing equipment necessary to meet all of your dental practice’s needs. We are happy to be your trusted go-to orthodontic lab, so you can be there for your patients.