One more question. Although it's a back tooth, vanity is prompting me to go with a porcelain fused to metal crown/onlay rather than the gold. This, despite the fact that I do tend to clench my teeth in my sleep. Am I really asking for trouble?
Gold restorations statistically last 2-3 times as long as anything with porcelain. Gold requires less reduction of tooth, so it can be more conservative. Porcelain also tends to be very abrasive to opposing teeth.
However, the esthetic value of porcelain restorations is huge. Check in a mirror and see if someone could easily see the tooth. If a gold tooth would bother you, go with the porcelain. Statistics favor gold, but that does not mean you can't get very good use out of a porcelain restoration if you take care of it.
What can you do?
Keep good oral hygiene, gold restorations are more decay resistant than porcelain, but a clean mouth resists decay as well.
You mentioned you clench at night. Get a nightguard! This will help protect your teeth from the abrasive porcelain surface as well as protect your procelain crowns from fracturing (win/win!) Think of it as cheap dental insurance (with no continuing monthly payment).
Overall, get what you want, you are the one paying for it. I have seen both gold and porcelain restorations last 20 years in patients if they take care of them.
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