We'd like to think that all dentists take the time to explain the pros and cons of the various options that a patient has. (In most cases there would always be at least two options that might make a reasonable choice.)

However, possibly it was so very clear to them which made the better choice that they just offered the one kind. Although with a back tooth, that wouldn't seem so likely to us.

In all cases, choosing the right material depends entirely on your specific situation and what issues exist. As a formal answer to your question but in a nutshell (as opposed to the drawn out version above), here are some general rules ...

Which dental crown material is best?
  • Metal - All-metal crown construction, especially when a gold alloy is used, makes a preferred choice in terms of fit, strength, durability and longevity. It makes an excellent choice for back teeth that don't show very much.
  • Ceramic - All-ceramic crowns generally make the preferred choice when the appearance of the tooth is of utmost concern. Obviously that would include front ones, but possibly also those to the side or back.

    Choosing the best kind of ceramic (and associated construction type) involves weighing esthetic vs. strength characteristics. Usually some kind of compromise must be accepted.

  • Porcelain-fused-to-metal - These crowns offer advantages of both all-ceramic and all-metal construction, and therefore may make a good choice for any tooth.

    In cases where just strength or appearance is the primary concern, the other types may make a better choice. But often this kind of crown provides the best balance between the two.

You specifically mention a "ceramic" crown for your back tooth. We don't know if that means a porcelain-fused-to-metal one (a good choice) or an all-ceramic (possibly not a good choice for teeth that revceive a lot of chewing pressure).

An all-ceramic can make a good choice for a back tooth but typically only a "best choice" if a suitable type of ceramic and method of construction is used. Your dentist should explain what they have planned so you can feel more comfortable with the (their) decision.

Our types of dental crowns page explains much of what we've mentioned here in greater detail.

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