Gold Alloy CrownsGold crowns are an excellent choice, if having an entirely white smile is not a top priority.  They are ideal for back teeth where they are less visible.  A gold crown has many advantages, not the least of which is durability, withstanding heavy forces from chewing.  They do not chip or break, making them a long-lasting dental restoration.  Gold crowns are made of cast gold, a technique that has been in existence for over a hundred years, and are still the most successful restoration.

Crowns such as all-metal and porcelain-fused-to-metal, are made using specific types of alloys. No pure metals are used in these restorations, not even gold. This is because for dental applications, the physical properties of alloys are superior in strength and durability.

There are three basic categories of dental alloys that can be used.  Each type has its own specific advantages and disadvantages, including: color, cost, insurance coverage, and general physical properties.  They are:

  • High noble (Precious metal: gold (yellow or white), palladium and/or platinum) – has a composition that is over 60% noble metal, of which more than 40% must be gold. *
  • Semiprecious – has at least 25% noble metal content.
  • Nonprecious – composed of various combinations of Cobalt or Nickel, Chromium, Molybdenum, Tungsten, Niobium, Tantalum, Silicon, less than 1% Manganese, Iron, Carbon, trace elements.

* High noble alloys constitute the “gold standard” of dental metals, against which all others are compared.  Palladium has a strong whitening effect which means that most of these alloys will have a silvery appearance unless the gold content is greater than 40% and the palladium less than 6%.

Dentists and dental laboratories often have strong preferences about which types of dental alloys they will consider working with. This is because their goal is getting the job done right, the first time.

There are several issues to consider when you are deciding whether to have gold alloy crowns:

  • Cost – The “noble” dental metals are pricey these days.  If the amount of precious metal is relatively small, the price difference between using a high-noble or base-metal alloy might be small, but if it’s for a large molar, the cost difference might be significant enough to affect your decision.
  • Color – Dental alloys can be white or yellow: the composition determines its colorYou might have a preference for a yellow (like gold) or silver (white gold) coloration.  Gold alloy never corrodes or darkens.
  • Hypoallergenic – Studies have shown that about 10% of the female population and 5% of males react to nickel, chrome, and/or beryllium, metals often found in base alloys.  Gold has excellent biocompatibility so an allergic reaction is rare.
  • Physical properties – A high gold content means:  easier to cast and polish, a more accurate fit, easy to adjust, the most predictable bond with porcelain, superior corrosion resistance.
  • Strength – The strongest type of crown, able to withstand heavy forces from chewing, do not chip or break, long-lasting.
  • Wear resistance – Cause the least amount of wear on opposing teeth, best for patients with bruxism (clenching or grinding).
  • Tooth preparation – Less of a tooth’s surface needs to be removed due to superior strength allowing for thinner construction.

Given the amount of advantages to gold alloy crowns, it is easy to see why they have been in use in dentistry for so many years, and are still the preferred restoration by many dentists, even though the use of ceramic/porcelain is now more popular because of aesthetic considerations.

If you are interested in gold alloy crowns in Costa Rica, fill out the “Find a Dentist” form on this page.  One of our patient advocates will reply to your needs.