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Do Dentists Still Do Gold Crowns?

Yes, Dentists still do gold crowns!

Although some people may think that crowns should always try to match teeth or that gold is an ‘old school’ way to restore a tooth, there are times when a gold crown is the very best solution!  There are many reasons why it is still a very good idea to restore a tooth with a gold cap or gold crown. 

3/4ths Gold crown

Gold covers the chewing portion of the tooth where it is needed for strength.

3/4ths Gold Crown

Gold crowns can be much more conservative.

Let’s talk about the basics first.  Assuming we are not doing a crown to make a tooth prettier, why does a tooth need a crown?

  • The tooth is weak and likely to fracture.
  • So much of the tooth is missing, a crown or cap is needed to strengthen the tooth.
  • Gaps between the tooth and adjacent teeth are causing periodontal problems due to food packing problems and a crown can be made to fill the needed space and recreate normal contact areas.

In these photos you can see a gold tooth crown on a model of a patient’s teeth. Gold covers the chewing portion of the tooth where it is needed for strength.  This crown would be called a 3/4ths gold crown because that is about how much of the tooth needed to be covered.  If this crown were tooth colored, much more of the tooth would need to be removed to make room for the proper thickness of porcelain  to give the tooth strength.  Note how the whole side of the tooth is left uncovered.  Gold crowns are strong even when they are thin which is not true of other types of crowns!

Gold crown on a molar

Sometimes we are concerned about the esthetics of having a gold crown. This one is very difficult to see!

Look closely and you will see a little sparkle of gold.

The reasons gold was a great solution in the past (maybe even for 100 years or more) are the same or similar to why gold crowns should continue to be used today.

  1.  Gold crowns have a hardness very similar too the enamel of teeth.  So, having a gold crown will not overly wear your other teeth.
  2. Gold will over time get burnished from chewing. This just makes it fit better!
  3. If the gold wears so thin that a hole appears, the crown may still be fine as the gold around the edges of the hold will burnish to the remaining tooth.
  4. Gold crowns can’t crack or break like your own teeth or porcelain crowns.
  5. The edges of gold crowns are often left above the gums where it is easier to keep the tooth clean.

Our office wants you to have the very best crowns for your teeth.  For some of the above reasons, gold crowns may last longer and be the best solution when esthetics and matching are not a priority.  We would be happy to discuss your crown options with you to help you select the best solution for your particular situation?  It is important to be given the opportunity to understand the difference between the different types of materials used on your teeth.  We have been taking the best care of our patients in Western Colorado for many years.

Beautiful gold crown on a back tooth! This crown has been in place for many years.

A gold crown may the very best alternative for a tooth needing strength and where the color is not a big concern!

Yours for better dental health,

Julie Gillis DDS, AAACD

Restoring Teeth/Restoring Smiles

A gold crown or cap has the same shape as the tooth is needs to replace but a very different appearance.