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What is a Gold Crown?

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Updated November 18, 2010

What is a Gold Crown? Photo: Anthony Bradshaw / Getty Images
Question: What is a Gold Crown?
There are many different types of crowns used to restore a tooth. Here, we take a look at gold crowns and why they have been used in dentistry for a number of years.
Answer:

Gold crowns are one of the classic types of dental crowns used in dentistry. There are two types of gold crowns used to restore a tooth. The full gold crown is made entirely from gold or gold alloy. A porcelain fused to metal crown (PFM) is made from a combination of gold and porcelain. In regards to the gold, there are three types of alloy used for fabricating gold crowns:

  • High Noble Alloy - Precious Metal - Made from, at a minimum, 60% high noble alloy. This includes gold, platinum and palladium. If using a combination of these alloys, at least 40% must consist of gold.
  • Noble Alloy - Semi Precious Metal - A noble alloy consists of 25% precious metal.
  • Non-Noble Alloy - Non-Precious Metal - Made from less than 25% precious metals, noble alloy generally is made from a combination of nickle, chromium, and gold.

Why Are Gold Crowns Recommended?

Gold crowns are able to withstand heavy forces from chewing. They do not chip or break, making them a long lasing dental restoration. If a tooth with a gold crown breaks, it is generally because the underlying tooth structure has fractured or decayed. Gold crowns are not immune to becoming loose, especially if you are eating foods and candy that are harmful to crowns and bridges.

Gold crowns also cause the least wear on the opposing tooth. For patients that grind their teeth or have a heavy bite, a gold crown will typically cause the same amount of wear on the teeth, compared to the tooth's natural enamel.

Gold crowns are used primarily to restore molars and premolars because of their classic yellow or white gold color. There are instances where people request gold crowns for their front teeth - think Flava Flave and many other well known rappers that choose gold crowns as a fashion statement.

Should I Consider a Gold Crown?

Selecting a gold crown for your tooth is a personal choice, however your dentist may recommend a gold crown if you exhibit heavy wear patterns on your teeth. People with metal allergies, such as a nickle allergy, should ensure their dentist is made aware of their allergy before a gold crown is fabricated. High noble alloy that contains no nickle or other common metals that cause allergic reactions should be carefully used if you do in fact have a metal allergy.

Does a Gold Crown Cost More?

Many dentists have a specific base price for all of the crowns they offer their patients, however because gold is a very expensive alloy, a gold crown may cost more than a porcelain crown. The increase cost is generally reflected in the laboratory charge, not your dentists fee.

The Gold Standard

Gold crowns are an excellent choice for patients that are not necessarily concerned about having an entirely white smile. Gold crowns are, in fact, an attractive restoration and offer a long life. If you require a crown, speak to your dentist about the many different crowns that are available.

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