Is A Resin Dental Crown Worth The Savings?

Posted on

Dental crowns have both functional and cosmetic uses. A crown fitted over the entire tooth will restore its mass and strength from when the tooth was damaged in an accident or when a large section of its structure was lost to decay. A crown also improves the look of the tooth—and some patients may have perfectly healthy teeth crowned just to enhance the appearance of their smile. To achieve these improvements, the crowns used in cosmetic dentistry are usually made of porcelain. There are economical alternatives to porcelain, like resin crowns. But are these crowns really worth the savings? 


Resin crowns are actually a composite resin, made from a variety of different plastics (such as an acrylic polymer resin). Plastics have many applications in dentistry. Do you have any tooth-colored fillings in your teeth? Chances are that these are made of composite dental resin. They look quite natural when used on a small scale (like with fillings), but this natural appearance arguably decreases when resin is used to cover the entire tooth.


A dental crown literally crowns the entire tooth, and although a resin crown will be color-matched to the rest of your teeth,  it won't look quite as natural as a porcelain crown—nor will its appearance last as long. The composite resin used to manufacture these crowns will discolor over time. The same is true of porcelain crowns, but the process is much slower, which helps porcelain crowns maintain their appearance for longer. 


Porcelain also interacts with light differently than resin. This may sound strange, but remember that natural dental enamel is partially translucent, and this effect can be replicated with porcelain. Resin tends to create a mono-color appearance that won't look as natural as a porcelain restoration. There's also tooth preparation to consider.


When a crown is fitted, the tooth that will receive it must be filed down on all sides. This ensures that the crowned tooth keeps the same dimensions as the pre-treatment tooth, otherwise, the bulky tooth will place stress on your other teeth, and can easily damage them or push them out of alignment. A relatively thin layer of surface enamel is removed for a porcelain crown. Because resin isn't as strong as porcelain, a resin crown must be thicker—meaning more of the tooth must be filed away.

There's one key benefit to a resin crown, and that's its price—but the cost benefits are certainly outweighed by the downsides to these crowns. A porcelain crown is going to have a somewhat higher cost, yet when you consider the effectiveness and longevity of the finished product, there's little to recommend about a resin crown.

Contact a local cosmetic dentist to learn more.