Crowns can be fabricated from many different materials including gold, porcelain (ceramic), metal, or any combination of these. Gold crowns are the strongest, last the longest, and wear the most similar to natural teeth. Most crowns you’ll find in people’s mouths are what we call metal-ceramic, or crowns with a metal substructure (usually gold alloy) and ceramic covering them to make them look like teeth. Metal-ceramic crowns are very durable and strong if placed within their limitations, but can have some esthetic limitations due to the metal layer underneath the porcelain.
Crowns made completely out of ceramic have the best optical properties and look the most like natural teeth, but are by far the weakest material. Modern technology has introduced new ways of manufacturing dental ceramics of superior strength, while still keeping their desirable cosmetic properties. Usually all-ceramic crowns are placed in the front part of the mouth where the chewing forces are less, giving a better natural appearance. Typically, all-ceramic crowns are a little more technique sensitive from the Dentist’s perspective, but have become quite common in todays dental offices.