What Metals Are Used in Dental Crowns?

A variety of metals can be used to create a dental crown. The most common metal types include:

  • Gold
  • Silver
  • Platinum
  • Palladium
  • Nickel
  • Chromium
  • Cobalt

Most crowns will not be 100 percent of one type of metal. Many pure metals lack the necessary physical properties to make usable crowns. For example, some of the more noble metals used are too soft. While this makes shaping a dental crown easier, it lacks the necessary structure to be effective.

To give it more structure and reduce the total cost, dentists will mix these metals with sturdier material to create alloys. So a crown that appears to be silver is probably a mix of silver and harder metals like titanium, and gold caps for teeth may only have a small amount of actual gold in them.

But what are metal crowns used for, anyway?

In general, dental crowns are tooth-shaped caps that improve both the form and function of a patient’s decaying or otherwise damaged teeth.

Crowns will also protect teeth from further damage, as the tight fit will keep dangerous plaque and acids from further damaging cracks and cavities. Along with filling gaps in your smile, crowns can cover implants, support bridges, and prevent weak teeth from shattering.

Metallurgy Meets Dental Care

Dental metallurgy refers to the art and science of using metals in dental care. A typical part of dental school curriculum, metallurgy involves making and compounding alloys for use in cosmetic treatments. Dentists break metal alloys into three categories:

  • High Noble Alloys: Made from precious metals, high noble alloys must consist of 60 percent of precious metals, which includes gold, platinum, and palladium. Of that alloy, 40 percent of it needs to be gold. These alloys are widely regarded as the industry standard. They generally have a high biocompatibility rating, meaning a person’s body is less likely to have an allergic reaction to the crown after it’s placed. These alloys are also softer, meaning they can actually last for longer than less noble crowns. 
  • Noble Alloys: The second category, noble alloys, are made from semi-precious metals and have a noble metal content of 25 percent or more. Aside from the less valuable metals used, they also have a generally high biocompatibility rating.
  • Non-Noble Alloys: Non-noble alloys contain non-precious metals and are considered lower quality. While most people won’t have a problem, patients with these crowns are more likely to show allergenic sensitivity with the non-noble metals used.

All of these alloys have similar properties and features, including:

  • High fracture resistance.
  • Resistance to wear.
  • Minimal damage to surrounding teeth.

Different Types of Metal Crowns

Now that we have a better understanding of which metals are used in dental crowns, there are a few different forms these metals can take when making a crown.

Gold Crowns

These are the gold and yellow-colored fillings that come from a mix of gold and other  metals like platinum or copper. Gold crowns are commonly used in the back molars to keep them out of sight, since their vibrant color makes them very noticeable.

Because gold is so soft, it will not cause more wear and tear when coming into contact with other teeth. Its structure also allows it to withstand heavy forces while chewing food, making it an ideal option for people who grind their teeth.

While these crowns are generally the most expensive, you can sell old dental gold to get some cash back.

Base Metal Crowns

These crowns generally fall into the noble or non-noble categories and have a metallic appearance. Base metal crowns have a lot of similarities to gold crowns but are lighter in weight while being a little harder and more resistant to wear.

Porcelain-Fused-to-Metal Crowns

Porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns, or PFMs, are types of crowns that combine metal and porcelain materials to create a durable crown that still resembles a natural tooth. While the metal provides greater strength and longevity, the porcelain offers a natural-looking appearance that blends well with existing teeth.

Dentists will put a metal shell over the damaged tooth. A porcelain cap that resembles your teeth will then cover the metal shell.

This type of crown comes with a few drawbacks; because the metal shell needs space to be placed over an existing tooth, a large amount of the tooth needs to be removed.

The outer porcelain can also crack after years of use. The metal underneath will stay intact, but eventually, that may need to be replaced as well. Additionally, this type of crown may cause more damage to surrounding teeth than full-metal crowns.

However, PFM crowns are popular, because they’re cheaper than many all-porcelain options, very durable, and blend in well with other teeth.

The Benefits of Metal Crowns

There’s a reason metal crowns have been used for so long.

Many dentists today offer porcelain or ceramic crowns as an alternative to metal. These have become fairly popular, since the white material better resembles the natural color of a tooth, making the dental crown less noticeable.

However, metal crowns have certain benefits over their ceramic counterparts that are worth mentioning. For starters, metal crowns are known to last longer. They are able to withstand chewing and biting and are unlikely to crack or break. The exact lifespan of a crown will depend on its quality and placement, but metal and gold crowns can last a lifetime.

Metal crowns are also thinner, which means much less of the actual tooth needs to be removed to place it. Porcelain and ceramic crowns can’t manage to be so thin, because the more brittle material will easily crack.

Sell Your Gold Crowns for Cash

Sometimes dental crowns need to be replaced because of damage or other reasons. Dentists will often let their patients keep the old gold crown, also known as dental scrap. It may not be of any use to you, but gold dental scrap can easily be sold for some quick cash.

With years of gold-buying experience and trusted relationships in over 30 states, CrownBuyers is a company you can trust. We are committed to accurately valuing your gold crowns and caps and compensating you with the best price in the market.

When you contact us about selling your gold caps and gold bridges, we will mail you one of our insured, puncture-proof GoldPacks. Simply place your gold inside and mail it back. As soon as we receive your items, we will deposit money into your PayPal account or mail you a check based on your preferences. You can trust us to provide top dollar for all your unwanted dental gold.

Contact us today to learn more about selling your dental gold! If you have gold to sell, fill out the GoldPak request form below.

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