porcelain fused to metal crown

Patients with chipped, cracked, or decayed teeth will likely choose a crown to protect the remaining tooth structure.


As a dentist, you’re aware of the many types of crowns that exist. This article will focus on Porcelain fused to metal (PFM) crowns.

What is a PFM Crown?dental technician working on a PFM crown

PFM Crowns are strong metal alloys fused beneath a porcelain exterior which are then bonded to the damaged tooth with dental cement.


Since the 1960s, PFM crowns have been accepted as an optimal solution for damaged, broken or chipped teeth.


The PFM material equips the patient with an ideal combination of aesthetics and durability as the metal alloy provides a tough and reliable foundation while the porcelain exterior seamlessly matches the adjacent teeth. The result is a fully satisfied patient with a beautiful and healthy smile.


What Materials are Used in PFM Crowns?

Three different alloy categories are used in the process of creating PFM crowns. These include: non-noble, noble, and high noble.


Non-noble alloys, known as base metals, have a noble metal content of less than 25%. Usually, non-metal alloys contain high amounts of cobalt, nickel, chromium, and beryllium.


Noble alloys are similar but have a minimum noble metal content of 25%. High noble metal alloys contain over 60% noble metal. These alloys differ from the others not only in their noble metal content but also in their gold content, which must be at least 40%.


There is no “one size fits all” for alloys as each patient is different. These are a couple of factors to consider before deciding on the right alloy to use.


  • Cost: High noble metals are more expensive than non-noble and noble metals. This point extends to insurance as well; make sure there are no restrictions on the types of metals that can be used.
  • Colour: Alloys come in two colours: gold and silver. The composition of the alloy’s metal will determine its colour. It should be noted that gold alloys give the PFM crown a more natural aesthetic.PFM crown made by a dental technician fitted on a patient impression to check for imperfections
  • Allergies: The cobalt, chromium, nickel, and palladium content in the metal may trigger an allergic reaction in some patients. While the risk is low, there are tests that can reveal whether the patient is allergic.


3 Benefits of PFM Crowns

PFM crowns are a popular choice among dentists and their patients, and for good reason. Here are the top benefits of PFM crowns as a dental restoration solution:



In both short-term and long-term tests, studies indicate that PFM crowns outperform all-porcelain crowns in survivability for posterior and anterior placements. This means the patient will not have to worry about the wear and tear of their crown as often as a patient with an all-porcelain crown.



The accessibility and simplicity of the materials used in PFM crowns mean that they are a highly cost-effective solution for damaged teeth. Not only are they relatively cheaper than alternative crowns, but they also last longer, meaning that the patient gets more value for less cost.



Another benefit of PFM crowns is that they will keep the adjacent teeth healthy and aesthetically pleasing. Unlike all-porcelain crowns, PFM crowns do not wear down the teeth adjacent to them. The damage from all-porcelain crowns can be especially impactful if the patient grinds their teeth.


PFM vs Porcelain Crownsdental technician painting a PFM crown to colour match the tooth

While PFM crowns certainly have many benefits, they are not completely without fault. PFM crowns are strong, affordable, and offer great protection for the patient’s mouth as a whole. However, there may be a slight gap between the gums and the porcelain; meaning that some metal may be visible. This gap may increase if the patient suffers from receding gums and may be more visible in the context of an anterior placement. Porcelain crowns do not suffer from this potential issue as there is no metal present whatsoever.


PFM Crown solutions at Ocean Ceramics

Interested in PFM Crowns? Ocean Ceramics provides superb PFM dental crowns with all the aforementioned benefits in both the posterior and anterior regions. In addition to PFM crowns, we also offer dentists a variety of crowns in materials such as monolithic zirconia, monolithic eMax, and porcelain-fused-zirconia (PFZr). Ocean Ceramics’ crowns have a quick turnaround time of only five days, so you can feel secure in the health of your teeth.


Ocean Ceramics is a family-owned business with roots that are over forty-five years old. Our Vancouver laboratory is a world-class, state-of-the-art facility that is able to offer phenomenal services for competitive prices. Not only is our material quality guaranteed, but also your satisfaction.


Ocean Ceramics is your go-to laboratory for all your ceramic solutions in the Vancouver, BC region. Contact us today to book a consultation with one of our dental technicians!