What is the Best Crown?
Patients will often ask my advice for the best crown for them.
There certainly are options. The best option depends on the tooth’s location. Naturally, for the front teeth and any tooth in the smile zone, we all will opt for a tooth-colored crown.
However, when we consider the molars, another factor must be considered. The molars by far are under the most force. The masseter muscles are located adjacent to the molars. The molars are meant to powerfully grind our food into much smaller pieces.
For those who brux, grind, or clench on their teeth during the day or while sleeping, the forces can be very detrimental to the teeth. These forces can crack, break, and even fracture the teeth.
Since these forces can adversely affect the molars, they can also adversely affect tooth-colored crowns since they are made of a ceramic material.
As a result, on the very back teeth, we will very often recommend gold crowns for at least moderately affected teeth. Even though they contain metal and are not esthetic, gold crowns are the strongest crown material we have in dentistry. Not only that; they are also very kind to the teeth they oppose since they do not severely wear them down.
There are patients who will still refuse to have gold crowns. We certainly understand. The important thing to us is that they are making an informed decision. The final decision does rest upon our valued patients.
Shopping for Crowns and Cars
As a dental office we do get calls from “shoppers.”
They are perhaps asking for our fee for a cleaning or a crown. These calls lead me to believe these shoppers are calling other dental offices as well.
These calls also lead me to believe that these shoppers believe they are comparing “apples to apples.”
For some or most of these callers, the lowest fees may be their main interest. They may be most interested in pursuing care from the least expensive dental office. These calls do concern me. Perhaps I should not think about them much; however, I do.
In the instance of a crown, the shoppers are requesting a fee. We can ask them for more detail, like where in the mouth would the crown be needed, what color is desired for the crown, and why do they think they need a crown.
If every dental office was able to obtain the same information and each selected the correct type of crown the patient desired, then the patient may view the fees as the only variable, the only difference between each of the dental offices.
My contention is that these shoppers may have no idea that the service they receive can be drastically different between the offices. There is so much more to this than the fees!
Let’s say we are shopping for a car. We want a new four-door compact, economical, red in color, with air conditioning, power doors and locks, a nice sound system, tinted windows, and whatever else.
We call multiple dealerships. Each dealership perhaps can give us a quote on the exact car we have outlined. However, with each dealership, are we getting the same car? Is the quality the same? Should the cars all have the same durability and reliability?
If you are following me, you may well have your own bias as far as what brand of car is best. But when it comes to dental shoppers for crowns, how do they know what “brand” they are getting quoted?
With cars, we know the make and model. We do not know that with crowns, or cleanings, or anything else. So, the comparison is not at all “apples to apples.”
Dentists are like most every other service provider. We are people too. Some of us are meticulous; some of us are not as meticulous. Some of us want to provide the best materials for crowns; some of us want to cut costs on crown materials. Certainly you can see where I am going on this.
In reality shoppers and patients may have no idea what “brand” of dental services they are receiving. That is why comparing fees is more of a fruitless effort.
To assist our online community, you can get an idea of what brand of dental services you might be getting or looking in to. Asking friends may provide a nice description. Online reviews may be a nice resource as well.
In addition, patients can feel comfortable in asking the dental office or the dentist about their mission statement or their focus. Any of these suggestions may lead you to some idea of the brand of dental services provided.
Here at my practice, patients can feel comfortable in knowing they are receiving very good quality care at a reasonable fee. I want to be an affordable practice that provides a high level of service. That service extends beyond the dental service. Our personal service is attentive, caring, empathetic, and genuine. We know that high quality care delivered in an honest manner saves our patients thousands of dollars.