When your dentist tells you that a tooth needs a crown, you should not shrink away from this procedure. Your dentist is trying to save the healthiest parts of this tooth by encapsulating it with a crown. By choosing to move forward with the tooth-crowning process, you will also need to choose a type of crown. There are four material types, each with their own pros and cons.
Resin is a type of hard plastic. This is one of the least expensive options for crowning a tooth, and quite often, the option that most insurance companies are willing to pay for. The process for making a resin crown is a little bit faster, which means that you will not have to wait quite as long for your dentist to craft the crown and place it in your mouth. A drawback (or con) to this material is that it does not hold up well to bruxism, and a mouth guard at night may be necessary to prevent you from grinding your teeth so hard that you break the resin crown.
Resin and Porcelain Mix
This is a dental crown that is made in part with dental resin, and in part with dental porcelain. The porcelain lends its strength and durability to the resin such that it is able to last longer than a resin crown. It takes longer to craft, and it is a little more difficult to shape than a straight resin or straight porcelain crown.
Dental porcelain is immensely strong and very durable. It is the stuff that dentists recommend to most patients who grind their teeth and need crowns because grinding on a porcelain crown has virtually no effect. It is the most permanent of all dental crowns, and it takes two decades or more to wear out before your dentist might have to fix or remove and replace it.
Metal crowns, which are typically surgical steel, gold, or a mix of the two metals, are strong as well. However, metal crowns do not usually adhere to the tooth nubs created specifically for crowns. Additionally, some people experience loose metal crowns that eventually fall off, mild to moderate allergic reactions to the metal used, and most people would prefer that their crowns not be visible when they smile or talk. Sometimes metal crowns fall under "special requests," which means they become cosmetic instead of restorative.