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  • by: Bill Warner
  • 31 min read



Until a few years ago, the choice of dental restorations was generally limited to full cast restorations, PFMs, or to feldspathic crowns and veneers. Today, the introduction of newer and increasingly sophisticated ceramics has greatly increased the choice for dentists and for patients. Full gold, PFMs, and Captek crowns are still popular but the most modern ceramics can easily accommodate consumer demand for better esthetics combined with excellent strength. Non-metal restorations include zirconia, IPS e.max and Empress. Choosing the correct option can be less straightforward, depending on whether flexural strength or excellent esthetics are the most important factor.

We have created a quick guide to help you choose the best material for your patients.
Download by clicking on the button below.

Crowns & Bridges Comparison Chart

Download Crowns & Bridges Comparison Chart »



When to Choose Full Cast Crowns & Bridges

Full cast crowns are strong, durable and have the potential to last for life. Gold crowns are particularly suitable for restoring posterior teeth away from the smile line and where space is often limited. These restorations are well-fitting, offer great biocompatibility, and the tissue response to metal alloys, especially gold, is extremely good, except in cases of alloy sensitivity.

Full Cast Crown - Gold Full Cast Crown - Semi Precious


When to Choose PFM Crowns & Bridges

PFMs are often a cost-effective choice for restoring teeth, provide good esthetic results, and can last for up to thirty years. They offer good shade consistency, translucency, and opalescence and are suitable for use anywhere in the mouth. PFMs have high resistance to plaque and provide a nice marginal fit. The tissue response towards well-fitting PFMs is good.

PFM White Hi Noble | Crowns & BridgesPFM Semi-Precious | Crowns & Bridges


When to Choose Captek Crowns

The high gold content of Captek crowns is very appealing and it is possible to make quite thin, yet strong, copings that are suitable for areas where space is limited. Captek crowns are highly biocompatible, promote an excellent tissue response, and offer a precise marginal fit. They can be used anywhere in the mouth, providing very good esthetics. Additionally, their resistance to plaque is very high.

Captek Detail | Crowns & Bridges 

When to Choose Solid Zirconia Restorations

Solid zirconia restorations offer 1200MPa superior strength and could last thirty years or more. Their precision fit promotes a healthy tissue response and solid zirconia is highly biocompatible. Solid zirconia is particularly suitable for bruxers. The high opacity of these restorations does mean they are not particularly esthetic for anterior or cosmetic cases. All zirconia restorations have a high resistance to plaque.

All Ceramics Zirconia-Solid | Crowns & Bridges 

When to Choose Layered Zirconia Restorations

Layered zirconia restorations are strong and durable and offer the same precision marginal fit as solid zirconia. They can last for up to thirty years and their high biocompatibility promotes a healthy tissue response. Layered zirconia restorations provide patients with life-like translucency and can have very good esthetic results. They are suitable for use anywhere in the mouth and their strength makes them a great option for long-span bridges. When to Choose High Translucency Zirconia Restorations With 600-780MPa strength, high translucency zirconia also has the advantage of providing excellent esthetics. The material is highly biocompatible and offers a precise marginal fit. High translucency zirconia can be used anywhere in the mouth and these restorations are particularly suitable for cosmetic cases.

All Ceramics Zirconia HT High Translucent | Crowns & Bridges


When to Choose IPS e.max

At 400MPa, IPS e.max doesn’t have quite the strength of high translucency zirconia but does offer fantastic esthetic results and can be used anywhere in the mouth. It is also exceptional for veneers and will provide good translucency and high levels of opalescence. When properly bonded, IPS e.max can last as long as any other restoration.

All Ceramics IPS EMax | Crowns & Bridges


When to Choose IPS Empress

With 160MPa strength, IPS Empress is ideal for anterior crowns and for veneers. This restoration offers excellent esthetics, allowing technicians to accurately replicate the translucency and opalescence found in natural teeth.

All Ceramics IPS Empress | Crowns & Bridges 


Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you would like more information. Our skilled technicians have in-depth knowledge about each of these materials and are always willing to discuss specific cases.

Click here to schedule a consultation with our material expert Bill Warner »

Crown and bridge material guide - complimentary comparison chart

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