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Full Metal Dental Crowns

Due to their limited aesthetic appeal, full metal crowns are not commonly used in dentistry today. Read this article to learm more about the pros and cons of metal crowns.

Full metal tooth crowns generally make use of gold alloys or base metal alloys like chromium or nickel.

An all metal dental crown requires only minimal amount of tooth structure to be removed and wearing out of adjacent teeth is also minimal.

Since these crowns are made of metals, they can withstand chewing and biting forces well and last for over a very long period. They hardly break or chip off.

Metal dental crown

Metal crown

The key drawback of metal crowns is their metallic color. They are best suited for restoring hidden molars.

Advantages of metal crowns

  • The most significant advantage of metal crowns is their tremendous strength.
  • Crowns made completely of gold are of very good quality.
  • Metal crowns cause minimal wearing of the surrounding teeth as compared to other crown types.
  • Metal crowns require very little amount of filling for the tooth.
  • Metal crowns last for a very long period and resist chipping and breaking better than other types of crown.
  • They are very durable and are used for the restoration of hidden teeth.
  • These are best suitable for patients who have strong chewing habits and are likely to clench and grind their teeth often. Thus, metal crowns are suited for the back teeth.


  • The only main disadvantage of metal crowns is their metallic appearance.

Metal crowns are sometimes prepared with porcelain fused to them and are referred to as porcelain fused to metal crowns (PFM). They have a strong metal core in the inside and then a layer of porcelain is cemented on it. The final look is similar to a natural tooth.

Advantages of PFM crowns:

  • In case of pure metal crowns, the metallic shine is a drawback but here the shade exactly matches the shade of the patients tooth.
  • These crowns can be easily used on tooth which is visible unlike the all-metal crowns. (However ceramic and porcelain crowns are more common nowadays.)
  • The quality of these crowns is very durable and superior as they have a metal in their core shell.
  • They have enough strength, are highly durable, and can easily bear strong chewing forces.


  • These porcelain crowns can cause wear and tear of the surrounding teeth causing pain and infections.
  • There are more crowns that are vulnerable to breaking and chipping as compared to all metals.
  • Since the porcelain covering is translucent, it sometimes makes the underlying metal visible which can be embarrassing for the patient.
  • In case the gums recede, a black line at the gum line of the crown may appear.

The procedure

Metal crowns are fixed in the same way as other crowns. It requires two successive visits to the dentist to get them permanently fixed.

  • On the first visit, a number of X-rays of the concerned tooth are done and then it is numbed.
  • All decay is cleared and then an impression of the teeth is taken.
  • While the permanent crown is prepared, a temporary crown is placed on the tooth to protect it.
  • After the permanent crown has arrived, it is cemented to the tooth permanently.

How much does a metal crown cost?

The price of a full metal crown in the US usually starts around $650 and can go up to $1300 or more.
However you might want to consider a gold or porcelain fused to metal crown instead of a full metal crown. These crowns are usually $100 - $200 more expensive than metal crowns.
Captek is also a great alternative of metal crowns, even though this is usually more expensive than the ones mentioned above.

If you want to know more about prices, read our article about dental crown costs here.

Other crown types

Instead of metal crowns, dentists tend to use Captek or porcelain fused to metal crowns to restore a tooth. This type has the advantages of the metal crowns discussed above without their metallic color.

Another option might be a gold crown, however dispite of its many advantages, gold crowns are also rarely used today because of their limited aesthetic appeal. 

A comparison of metal, all ceramic and porcelain fused to metal crowns