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Opening the Conversation: What are the advantages and disadvantages of full-contour zirconia vs. cast gold for a full crown on a second molar?


Smiley Gold ToothThis question was submitted by a general dentist: What are the advantages and disadvantages of full-contour zirconia vs. cast gold for a full crown on a second molar?

The following are “discussion-opener” responses by: 

Dr. Karen Black

I have been using full-coverage zirconia crowns in low-aesthetic-need zones for patients who want a tooth-colored restoration. I like the fact that I can do my basic gold crown prep and keep it more conservative than a PFM or (e.g.) Emax crown.

However, other than the fact that it is tooth-colored, the only additional advantage is price. The lab fee is far lower than the fee for a gold crown or a full cast semi-precious crown. I still find that the cast metal fit is superior and recommend cast metal (preferably gold) for the best, longest-lasting restoration of a second molar.

Dr. Kim Scott

Gold is better for function prep and many other reasons. However, the question is: will the patient accept gold? I have always given my patients the option, to which they have their own ideas and I have never been able to persuade them.


How would you respond to this question? You can reply to this post or send us your response via email at oasisdiscussions@cda-adc.ca, or call us toll free at 1-855-716-2747 



  1. dr.fawzia al-hatami August 12, 2013

    i like ur ideas .but i want to consult u about my apatient he wants composite veneers .but he is heavy smoker and addicted to tea and coffee,does that affect the longevity of the composite?i ‘ll post his picture.thx inadvance.

    1. dr. labine August 14, 2013

      do the composite restoation leave and it up to the patient to adjust his behavior

  2. Paul Hew August 13, 2013

    Gold does not break. If a patient outright asks you “which one lasts longer”…. then you would have to go with the gold. If you are trying to create future work for yourself, then go with full contour zirc crown … they break.

  3. Mark Nicolucci August 14, 2013

    As far as I understand, functionally, gold cast metal is one of the best materials in the mouth. It has excellent characteristics concerning maleability, flexibility and need for tooth reduction. All of those help to ensure high longevity of the restoration. Excluding cost/ease/esthetics, I know of no material that is superior. Those are some significant exclusions though. Perhaps the question could be more focused, as in, “Is there a restorative material superior (in terms of longevity and function) to a cast-gold restoration?”


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