Gold Alloys

Dental crowns are used for a number of reasons. Your dentist may recommend one due to loss of tooth structure or root canal treatment. You might also choose one for cosmetic improvement of your smile.

There are many different types of crowns used to restore a tooth. Among those are gold crowns, which have been used in dentistry for a number of years.


Gold crowns are one of the classic types of dental crowns used in dentistry and there are two types. The full gold crown is made entirely of gold or a gold alloy. Another type is porcelain fused to a metal crown (PFM), made from a combination of gold and porcelain.

In regards to the gold, the American Dental Association (ADA) classifies three types of alloy used for fabricating gold crowns:

  • High Noble Alloy (Precious Metal) – Made from a minimum of 60 percent high noble alloy. This includes gold, platinum, and palladium. If a crown uses a combination of these alloys, at least 40 percent must consist of gold.
  • Noble Alloy (Semi-Precious Metal) – A noble alloy consists of 25 percent precious metal.
  • Non-Noble Alloy (Non-Precious Metal) – Made from less than 25 percent precious metals, noble alloy generally is made from a combination of nickel, chromium, and gold.



There are many reasons why your dentist may recommend a gold crown. For instance, gold crowns are able to withstand heavy forces from chewing and may be recommended if you exhibit heavy wear patterns on your teeth.

Additionally, these crowns do not chip or break, making them a long-lasting dental restoration. If a tooth with a gold crown breaks, it is generally because the underlying tooth structure has fractured or decayed. However, gold crowns may become loose, especially if you are eating foods and candy that are harmful to crowns and bridges.

Gold crowns also cause the least wear on the opposing tooth. For patients that grind their teeth or who have a heavy bite, a gold crown will typically cause the same amount of wear on the teeth, compared to the tooth’s natural enamel.

Since they do have a yellow or white gold color, gold crowns are used primarily to restore molars and premolars. Some people request gold crowns on their front teeth as well. This choice is often more of a fashion statement that was popularized by well-known rappers.


If you have a metal allergy, such as a nickel allergy, make sure your dentist is made aware of it before a gold crown is fabricated. A high noble alloy that contains no nickel or other common metals that cause allergic reactions should be used carefully in these cases.


Many dentists have a specific base price for all of the crowns they offer their patients. However, because gold is a very expensive alloy, a gold crown may cost more than a porcelain crown. The increased cost is generally reflected in the laboratory charge, not your dentist’s fee.