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What are dental crowns made of?

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Dental crowns protect natural teeth that have been damaged or exposed due to injury or decay. Acting as a protective “cap”, a crown covers the entire visible area of a tooth and prevents harmful bacteria or other forces from further damaging it. To hold up to daily chewing, biting, and speaking, dental restorations must be made of some incredibly strong substances. Below, we’re talking about the four different materials typically used to create dental crowns, and the benefits and disadvantages of each.

For restorative care in Auburn, CA, choose Maidu Dental! Our team, led by Dr. Luminita Markham, has experience helping patients recover with minimal discomfort from fractured, chipped, infected, or abscessed teeth. For information on scheduling an appointment, contact our practice at (530) 507-8989.


Today, one of the most well-known dental crown materials is porcelain, or a medical-grade ceramic. This material offers strong protection and an unparalleled natural appearance. For teeth that are highly visible in the smile, porcelain crowns can offer a seamless appearance. Other benefits include:

  • Porcelain is hypoallergenic, meaning patients won’t suffer from any hyper-sensitivity that can come with certain metal crowns.
  • Porcelain crowns are precisely fitted and keep out harmful bacteria and food particles from the inner tooth structure.
  • Dental porcelain is long-lasting and is able to withstand the pressure from natural teeth during chewing or biting.


Growing in popularity, zirconia crowns are offered by dental practices like Maidu Dental, that offer same-day crowns, or CAD/CAM technology. Zirconia is more easily shaped by the computer-aided design and manufacturing tools in our practice.

In addition to its quick turnaround time, custom zirconia crowns are very strong and hypoallergenic —this material combines the strength of metal caps with the color of porcelain. While zirconia crowns can be shaded to fit your natural tooth color, the material is slightly more opaque than porcelain, which can create a less natural-looking finish. However, in some cases, the zirconia crown can be layered with porcelain to create an improved appearance.


Traditionally, metal was used very frequently in dental crowns because of its superior strength and durability. Today, while metal crowns are still used in dentistry, knowledge about metal sensitivities makes some dentists and patients more hesitant towards metal crowns. While they are extremely durable and can last longer than porcelain or zirconia crowns, they are not hypoallergenic and unless layered with porcelain, do not maintain a natural appearance in your smile.


Resin crowns are fabricated from a durable plastic material that can be colored to match your natural tooth’s shade. Often, resin crowns are used temporarily until a permanent crown made from one of the above materials can be placed. This is because resin is a weaker material compared to zirconia, porcelain, or metal, and can show signs of wear much sooner. It’s important to treat these crowns with additional care, as they are more susceptible to cracks, chips or breaks from eating hard foods or grinding teeth.

Questions? Contact Us!

At Maidu Dental, we offer restorative treatments to fit your unique smile and needs. Dr. Luminita Markham has been practicing general and restorative dentistry in California since 1999, and can help you restore your smile through crowns that look natural, feel comfortable, and allow you to eat and drink normally. If you have questions about dental crowns, or our process of fabricating same-day crowns, reach out to a member of our team at (530) 507-8989.

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Maidu Dental - Your Trusted Dental Partner in Auburn, CA

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