“Why are dental crowns made of gold?” “Are gold dental crowns made of pure gold?” Not surprisingly, these are two of the most often asked questions by dental patients. The simplest answer is that gold dental crowns are one of the most durable types of crowns, and they aren’t made of pure gold.

So why not pure gold? Dental crowns are exposed to much wear and tear from chewing and the pure form of gold is too soft to handle that. Pure gold tends to deform or distort when applied with constant pressure. However, when mixed with other alloys, a dental crown made with gold is one of the strongest and most long-lasting materials that can be used.

What Are Gold Dental Crowns Made Of?

We’ve mentioned above that there are three basic kinds of gold dental alloys based on their level of precious metal content. So what else is in each one besides gold? And how much gold is in a dental crown? The compositions vary depending on the type of alloy used. 

1. Non-Noble Alloys (Non-Precious Metals) – These alloys are generally a combination of gold, nickel, and chromium. The precious metal content is less than 25 percent.

2. Noble Alloys (Semi-Precious Metals) – Semi-precious alloys contain 25 percent precious metal. 

3. High Noble Alloys (Precious Metals) – These alloys contain a minimum of 60 percent precious metals, and at least 40 percent must be gold. The other contents are usually made up of silver, platinum, and palladium. The precise content depends on the dentist performing the crown restoration.

Some dentists also use silver-colored alloys to make restorations, but these may also contain gold and other precious metals.

One of the preferred gold alloys by Dr. Brandon White is a high noble alloy with a mixture of 62% gold, 3% palladium, and 24% silver because this provides a beautiful restoration that is resistant to plaque accumulation and provides a finish that is unmatched in accuracy and durability. 

What Kind of Gold is Used For Dental Crowns?

Gold is an expensive type of metal. Since higher karats of gold cannot be used (because aside from being expensive, they would make the crown too soft), dentists commonly use ones with a karat value of 10 to 16.

There are exceptions. Some dental professionals may use gold with higher karat values but will mix these with much stronger metals to create a tough and durable dental crown. Of course, this comes with a much higher price tag.

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