Objectives Dentists enrolled in the National Dental Practice-Based Research Network completed a study questionnaire about techniques and materials used for single-unit crowns and an enrollment questionnaire about dentist/practice characteristics. The objectives were to quantify dentists’ material recommendations and test the hypothesis that dentist's and practice's characteristics are significantly associated with these recommendations. Methods Surveyed dentists responded to a contextual scenario asking what material they would use for a single-unit crown on an anterior and posterior tooth. Material choices included: full metal, porcelain-fused-to-metal (PFM), all-zirconia, layered zirconia, lithium disilicate, leucite-reinforced ceramic, or other. Results 1777 of 2132 eligible dentists responded (83%). The top 3 choices for anterior crowns were lithium disilicate (54%), layered zirconia (17%), and leucite-reinforced glass ceramic (13%). There were significant differences (p < 0.05) by dentist's gender, race, years since graduation, practice type, region, practice busyness, hours worked/week, and location type. The top 3 choices for posterior crowns were all-zirconia (32%), PFM (31%), and lithium disilicate (21%). There were significant differences (p < 0.05) by dentist's gender, practice type, region, practice busyness, insurance coverage, hours worked/week, and location type. Conclusions Network dentists use a broad range of materials for single-unit crowns for anterior and posterior teeth, adopting newer materials into their practices as they become available. Material choices are significantly associated with dentist's and practice's characteristics. Clinical significance Decisions for crown material may be influenced by factors unrelated to tooth and patient variables. Dentists should be cognizant of this when developing an evidence-based approach to selecting crown material.