As a practicing dentist, you know about the versatility of dental crowns. Placing a crown can prevent your patient from total tooth loss, even in the event of significant decay or damage. Crowns can be composed of various materials including, full-gold, all-porcelain to PFM (porcelain fused to metal). These days, many dentists believe the ideal choice is crowns made of zirconia. In this article, your state-of-the-art dental laboratory at Premier Dental Arts explores the pros and cons of zirconia crowns so that you can decide which type of crown is best for your patients.
How is zirconia used to make crowns?
There are three different methods that use zirconia to create dental crowns
- Solid zirconia is opaque and used most often for crowns on teeth toward the back of the mouth. Also known as monolithic zirconia, solid zirconia is more durable and can withstand the greater force placed on back teeth when chewing. It also may be ideal for patients with bruxism—the clinical term for grinding or clenching your teeth. Zirconia may also be used to conceal tooth darkening from prior dental procedures.
- Layered zirconia has more translucency, making it ideal for crowns on front teeth. Layered zirconia also can be used on posterior crowns—located near the back of the mouth—assuming there is enough clearance, meaning the crown can be placed without affecting the alignment of the adjacent teeth.
- Zirconia HT has the highest translucency of any of the three options. It is stronger than PFM restorations and completely metal-free, making it ideal for patients who need a crown but are opposed to dental restorations containing metal. Zirconia HT can be matched to the shade of a patient’s other natural healthy teeth and can be utilized in bridges and crowns.
The Benefits of Zirconia Crowns
- Safety: Zirconia has high biocompatibility. That means it won’t cause reactions, especially in patients who cannot receive PFM restorations because of a metal allergy.
- Durability: Both solid and layered zirconia have strength, meaning it’s quite rare that either type of crown will chip or fracture.
- Versatile: Zirconia can be shifted and manufactured to meet the patient’s specific needs. This ability to customize lessens the margin of error when working with the zirconia, increasing the likelihood of an excellent fit.
- Metal-free: Zirconia crowns do not result in darkening around the gingival area, which occurs along the margins of a PFM crown.
- Comfort: Zirconia crowns are more resistant to hot and cold temperatures in the mouth as the patient eats and drinks.
Patients report fewer accounts of tooth sensitivity with zirconia crowns compared to PFM ones.
The Disadvantages of Zirconia Crowns
There have been some questions about the crowns creating friction against the tooth root, leading to excessive wear of opposing teeth, although this is incredibly rare. This can be mitigated by encouraging patients who receive zirconia crowns to maintain a schedule of regular dental appointments every six months. Many of the other concerns about zirconia crowns are no longer a concern thanks to advances in dental science, which allows zirconia restorations to be produced that look aesthetically perfect and can be applied using a minimally invasive process.
Producing High-Quality Zirconia Crowns
The demand for zirconia currently highly exceeds that of PFM in the realm of dental restorations, meaning that zirconia crowns represent the current and growing trend in the world of dentistry. At Premier Dental Arts, we can provide both zirconia frames and monolithic zirconia restorations to your patients. These beautiful restorations will look just like natural teeth when placed. To find out more, call (888) 732-5221 today.