As you start to discuss dental crowns with your dentist, you may be surprised when your dentist tells you that a metal crown may be your best option. You may have assumed that crowns are all tooth-coloured now, however, this isn't the case. Sometimes a metal crown is a better option than a white one. Why?
Where Is the Tooth?
Your dentist isn't likely to recommend using a metal crown on a tooth that is prominent in your smile, unless of course he thinks you want a gold crown for a certain look! Metal crowns are generally used on your molars — the teeth at the back of the mouth. So from a cosmetic point of view, your dentist may see a metal crown as the best choice if it won't be easily seen.
Plus, metal crowns are usually stronger than other options. They also don't need as much of the tooth to be removed during the crowning process – the more tooth you have under the crown, the stronger it will be. This can be especially useful on your molars which do a lot of the hard food-chewing work for you. So your dentist may simply favour a metal crown for a back tooth if he thinks that it will make it easier for you to use your back teeth to eat and will produce a false tooth that is strong enough to grind food for longer.
Do You Grind Your Teeth?
If you have bruxism — a condition that makes you grind your teeth a lot — then your dentist may simply view a metal crown as the most stable option. Tooth-coloured crowns may suffer if you grind your teeth. For example, they may fracture or come lose and they can also damage the teeth they grind against.
This isn't so much of a problem with metal crowns. The metal they are made of is very strong; the fact that they can utilise more of your natural tooth increases this strength. So a metal crown is less likely to be damaged by grinding. Plus, these kinds of crowns can also protect your other teeth from grinding problems — metal crowns don't tend to wear down or damage other teeth even if they grind against them every night when you're asleep.
Chat to your dentist about why he thinks a metal crown may be your best bet. If you prefer to have a different type of crown after this chat, then your dentist can talk you through other options and how they will work on your tooth.