Tooth Caps: An Overview of Materials (Metal Ceramic, DMLS, Zirconia)

Tooth caps, also known as dental crowns, come in various materials, each offering unique advantages and characteristics to suit different clinical situations and patient preferences. Three common materials used for dental crowns are metal ceramic, direct metal laser sintering (DMLS), and zirconia. Here, we’ll explore these materials and their respective applications in dental restorations.

1. Metal Ceramic Crowns:

Composition: Metal ceramic crowns are constructed with a metal alloy base covered by layers of tooth-colored ceramic.


  • Strength: Metal ceramic crowns are known for their exceptional strength and durability, making them ideal for molars and other teeth that withstand significant chewing forces.
  • Longevity: These crowns have a proven track record of longevity, often lasting for many years with proper care.
  • Biocompatibility: The metal used is typically biocompatible, and the ceramic layers provide a natural-looking appearance.

Applications: Metal ceramic crowns are commonly used for posterior (back) teeth restorations where strength and durability are paramount. However, their metallic appearance may not be suitable for highly visible front teeth.

2. Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS) Crowns:

Composition: DMLS crowns are made from a solid block of metal, typically a high-strength alloy, using a 3D printing technology called direct metal laser sintering.


  • Precision: DMLS technology allows for highly precise and customized crown designs, ensuring a perfect fit.
  • Strength: These crowns are exceptionally strong and resistant to wear, making them suitable for posterior teeth.
  • Minimal Tooth Removal: DMLS crowns require less tooth preparation, preserving more of the natural tooth structure.

Applications: DMLS crowns are ideal for cases where precision, strength, and minimal tooth reduction are crucial. They are often used for molars and premolars.

3. Zirconia Crowns:

Composition: Zirconia crowns are made from zirconium dioxide, a strong and tooth-colored ceramic material.


  • Strength: Zirconia crowns are renowned for their exceptional strength, comparable to metal crowns, making them suitable for posterior teeth.
  • Aesthetics: Zirconia crowns offer excellent aesthetics, as they closely resemble the natural color and translucency of teeth.
  • Biocompatibility: Zirconia is biocompatible, making it suitable for patients with metal allergies or sensitivities.

Applications: Zirconia crowns are versatile and can be used for both posterior and anterior (front) teeth restorations. They are particularly well-suited for cases where both strength and aesthetics are important.

Considerations for Crown Selection:

The choice of crown material depends on several factors, including the location of the tooth, the patient’s oral health, aesthetic preferences, and budget. Your dentist will assess your specific needs and discuss the most suitable crown material for your situation.

In summary, tooth caps, or dental crowns, come in various materials to meet the diverse needs of dental patients. Whether you require strength, aesthetics, or precision, there is likely a crown material that suits your needs. Consult with your dentist to determine the best crown material for your unique dental restoration.

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