Dental crowns

dental crown in smile doctor dental clinic ara damansara

What is a dental crown?

Dental crowns are prosthesis that surrounds and wraps the tooth all around to protect it against fracture. It is usually done for root canal treated tooth or badly decayed tooth with compromised structure. 

What are the types of dental crown?

There are generally 4 types of dental crowns categorized based on the material:

1. Full metal crown

2. Porcelain fused metal crown

3. Zirconia crown

4. Porcelain crown

Full Metal Crown

metal crown in smile doctor dental clinic ara damansara

Full metal crowns are entirely silver-coloured dental crowns on the inside as well as surface of the crown.

Due to its colour, these are usually used in the back areas of the mouth
eg. Upper molars, occasionally lower molars

These crowns are best suited for vital tooth that has not gone through root canal treatment
as it is very thin and require only a small amount of tooth reduction which preserves the tooth structure and maintains vitality of tooth.

Porcelain fused metal crown

porcelain fused metal crown in smile doctor dental clinic ara damansara

Porcelain fused metal crowns are tooth-coloured dental crowns with inner metal lining.

It is the most widely used crown due to its affordability and cost effectiveness. Due to the metal lining, it can produce a slight greyish tint on surface of the tooth. As a result, it is best suited for all back teeth as well as on front teeth in less esthetically demanding cases.


The layered porcelain may wear or chip off after some time, exposing the metal surface.
It does not affect functionality of the crown, however, it can be very obvious and affect the esthetics especially on front teeth. It might also wear out opposing tooth over the years if bite force is high or grinding is present.

Zirconia crown

zirconia crown at smile doctor dental clinic ara damansara

Zirconia crowns are tooth-coloured dental crowns. They are the most durable among the types of dental crowns. These dental crowns are highly resistant to chipping and breaking and are therefore suitable for those who grinds their teeth at night. These crowns can be used for front teeth as well as molars.


One of the advantages of Zirconia crowns is that, though it is strong and durable, it does not wear off opposing teeth like porcelain.

Zirconia crowns tend to be more opaque in colour and therefore requires some layering with porcelain if to be used on front teeth for better esthetic outcome.
Zirconia crowns doesn’t chip. However, there are chances of chipping off porcelain from the zirconia crown but is highly unlikely. Zirconia layered crowns are indicated for those with severe discolouration on their front teeth that cannot be masked with a porcelain crown.

Porcelain Crown

zirconia crown in smile doctor dental clinic ara damansara

Porcelain crowns are tooth-coloured dental crowns.
They offer the best esthetics and are suitable for those looking for the most natural looking crowns.
These crowns are resistant to stains and are translucent which mimics the natural tooth.


That being said, due to the lack of support of a metal or zirconia core, porcelain crowns are more susceptible to chipping and breakage. Though brittle, its hardness is more than the natural tooth and can therefore cause the opposing tooth to be worn out after some time.


Porcelain crowns are usually indicated on the front teeth that has lesser biting force and more esthetic demanding.

FAQ for Dental crowns

You may need a dental crown for several reasons, including:

  • Protecting a weak tooth from breaking
  • Restoring an already broken or severely worn-down tooth
  • Covering and supporting a tooth with a large filling
  • Crack tooth syndrome
  • Holding a dental bridge in place
  • Covering misshapen or severely discolored teeth
  • Covering a dental implant
  • Making a cosmetic modification

The dental crown procedure typically involves two visits to the dentist:

  1. First Visit: The dentist examines and prepares the tooth by taking X-rays and removing any decay. The tooth is reshaped to make space for the crown. An impression of the tooth is taken and sent to a dental lab. A temporary crown is placed to protect the tooth.
  2. Second Visit: The temporary crown is removed, and the new permanent crown is checked for fit and color. If everything is satisfactory, the dentist cements the crown in place.

Dental crowns can last between 5 to 15 years, depending on the material used and your oral hygiene practices. With proper care, some crowns can last even longer.

Caring for a dental crown involves:

  • Brushing twice a day with fluoride toothpaste
  • Flossing daily to remove plaque from the area where the crown meets the gum
  • Avoiding chewing hard foods, ice, or other hard objects
  • Regular dental check-ups and cleanings
  • While dental crowns are generally safe and effective, potential risks or complications include:

    • Tooth sensitivity, especially to hot or cold temperatures
    • Discomfort or pain if the crown is not fitting properly
    • Chipping or breakage of the crown
    • Loose crown due to the cement washing out
    • Allergic reaction to the materials used in the crown

Minor chips on the front teeth in a dental crown can often be repaired with composite resin. However, if the crown is severely damaged, or those on the molars with heavy bite force, the repair might not last and it may need to be replaced.

It will depend on your location. Generally, a dental crown can cost as follows:

  • Metal crown or porcelain-fused-to-metal crown: Approximately RM800-1500
  • Porcelain crown or zirconia crown: Approximately RM1800-2500

The need for a root canal treatment before placing a dental crown depends on the condition of the tooth. If the decay has spread to the nerve, causing pain and swelling, a root canal treatment is required before placing the crown. However, if the tooth is still healthy and the decay is not close to the nerve, the tooth can be protected with a dental crown without the need for a root canal treatment.

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