Gold crowns and porcelain crowns are dental crowns which are used to fill and strengthen a decayed tooth, to enhance the cosmetic appearance. It creates a brand new outer surface, in terms of appearance and for chewing.
A gold crown is normally made up of 18 karat gold or can even be made up of gold alloy. They are durable and highly resistant. A gold crown is a perfect filling for a decayed tooth as it is stronger than our tooth enamel and is non-corrosive.
A porcelain crown is made up of pure ceramic or from a new reinforced composite resin. They cannot be easily distinguished from a normal tooth enamel. They are non-metallic and are resistant but are prone to chipping and erosion.
Now let's look at the differences between a gold crown and a porcelain crown.
|Points of Difference||Gold Crown||Porcelain Crown|
|Physical Properties||Gold crown is a highly bio-compatible and non-toxic material. Also, it is non-corrosive and hypo-allergenic. It is used widely for filling gaps and cavities.||Porcelain crowns are made up of dental ceramic. It is non-toxic but it is corrosive. Its color is very similar to that of a natural tooth enamel.|
|Fit||Gold is a very flexible and a durable metal. Therefore it is easy for the dentist to make a precise crown out of it and is very easy to fit.||Porcelain crowns are harder to fit in the gum-line.|
|Erosion/Abrasiveness||The rate at which a gold crown erodes is equal to the rate at which a tooth enamel erodes. Also a gold crown does not erode the teeth it comes in contact with, while eating, biting, etc.||Porcelain crowns erode at a much faster rate. They last for about 5 years. Also these crowns tend to wear the teeth it comes in contact with.|
|Breaking and Chipping||As a gold crown is purely made up of metal, it can resist the chewing and biting pressures well. Gold crowns do not really chip or break. Out of all the other metals and other materials, gold crown lasts the longest.||Porcelain crowns can easily break and chip. This is because the porcelain as a material is inherently fragile.|
|Placement||Gold crowns are usually only used for the molar teeth (grinding teeth). This is because gold crowns are not considered as esthetic. Therefore, they are placed on the molar teeth as they are not really visible when one smiles. But as the gold crowns are sturdy, they match with the utility of the molar teeth. The front teeth (anterior teeth) does not need to perform heavy activities like the molar teeth.||Porcelain teeth are normally placed on the anterior teeth because of its excellent cosmetic appearance.|
|Cost||"Gold is Gold" after all. Therefore, gold crowns are certainly expensive but not the most expensive ones. They are cheaper than all the other options if you are looking at a long term use.||Porcelain crowns happen to be more expensive than the gold crowns, per se. Also they happen to be more expensive because of the recurring cost involved when they chip or break. They have to be replaced and the same expenditure has to be re-borne.|
|Translucency||Gold crowns are not translucent at all and therefore are not preferred by most of the patients. A placed gold crown is very clearly visible.||Porcelain crowns are very translucent and are therefore widely preferred by the patients.|
|Strength||Gold crown is the strongest of all the dental crowns.||Porcelain crowns are not as strong as they look. They are fragile and any heavy grinding activity can chip and break them.|
|Esthetics||Gold crowns don't look esthetically pleasing. As teeth look beautiful and clean, only when the enamel is white; any other color will make it look stained and corroded.||The only reason why porcelain crowns are used is because they are cosmetically very pleasing.|
|Longevity||Gold crowns have been recorded to last up to even 50 years. They are certainly durable.||Porcelain crowns don't last as long as the gold crowns. Their shelf-life would be around 5-6 years and then normally they need to be replaced again.|
Porcelain-fused-to-metal dental crowns are like crossbreed crowns of gold crowns and porcelain crowns. The base and the structure of the crown is essentially made up of a gold crown and is then covered and fused with a porcelain veneer. This is done to give a natural look to the enamel along with giving it the strength of a gold crown. Though, the porcelain veneer will chip and erode in a short span of time and the metal base will be visible.
Despite its pros and cons gold crowns and porcelain crowns both hold an important place in dentistry. You can't really choose between one of them, you will have to use both of them or a combination of them to achieve the right look and durability that you want from a dental crown.
If aesthetics were not as important, gold crowns would have been the best option for tooth caps in dentistry.