Top 10 Advantages of Zirconia Crowns

Zirconia crowns may be the better option

A Closer Look at Zirconia

When it comes to our health, we naturally want the best, and that includes choosing top-quality dental materials when we have work done.

There are many reasons why you should consider using zirconia as the material for your dental crown. Zirconia crowns may not be as famous as ceramic ones, but they’ve become more popular in recent years for good reason. 

Let’s take a look at the top 10 advantages of zirconia crowns.

1. Strongest Crowns Available

The human jaw can exert enormous pressure. In fact, humans can exert as much as 275 pounds of pressure with their back teeth. While we may not do this while eating, dental crowns still have to be strong enough to withstand the same chewing, grinding, and other forces that our natural teeth endure. 

Ceramic crowns have come leaps and bounds in recent years, especially with the development of e.max, which is super strong and can be made paper-thin. But the award for strongest crown on the market goes to zirconia.

Zirconia is a biocompatible material, meaning that it is well tolerated by the body. Zirconia crowns are made from zirconium dioxide. It shares many properties with titanium but is actually considered a ceramic rather than a metal. It is a crystal and is naturally translucent. This crystal structure is what gives it its strength. And this means it is highly resistant to biting, chewing, and grinding.

2. Long Lifespan

Zirconia crowns have only been in use in general dentistry for about the last 20 years. Therefore good data on exactly how long they last is not yet available. Zirconia naturally has an extremely smooth surface. This is beneficial as it reduces the risk of plaque formation. With regular preventive care and good general oral hygiene, there is no reason why your zirconia crown can’t last for decades. 

As far as home care, twice-daily brushing accompanied with daily flossing is the gold standard. Using antibacterial mouthwash and interdental brushes can also help keep harmful bacteria at bay. Regular preventive care appointments (i.e., cleanings) are a must. 

3. Great Looks

On its own, zirconia is naturally white and opaque. This mimics the translucency of your teeth’s natural enamel and dentin. However, on its own, zirconia is a little too opaque to look completely natural.

That means that pure zirconia dental crowns are ideal for molars, the teeth at the back of your mouth. These teeth do the hardest work and exert the most pressure, making zirconia a perfect choice. For front teeth though, most people will find that zirconia alone does not give them the natural look they want. A full  zirconia crown (meaning milled from one solid block of material) is known as a monolithic zirconia crown. But zirconia is still a great option for front teeth when layered with other materials. Under porcelain, it looks even more natural. This technique is called porcelain fused to zirconia (PFZ). 

Patients’ main concern is whether PFZ crowns are more susceptible to cracking over time than monolithic zirconia crowns. However, their design makes this very unlikely. During the manufacturing process, the porcelain layer is fused to the zirconium substructure. This makes it super strong, so chips and cracks are very rare.

4. Incredible Stability

We’re all looking for dental crowns that are stable and comfortable while preventing sensitivity. Zirconia combines these qualities, along with much better aesthetics, with those of traditional metal crowns.

Because it’s a biocompatible material, it is not likely to set off any allergic reactions in the body. That makes it particularly suitable for people with metal allergies. It also doesn’t transfer heat or cold, and there is expanding or contracting depending on what you eat—just stability and reliability.  

5. Accurate Fit

In the past, having a crown meant taking a putty-type impression and sending it off to the lab. But different technology is now used (thank goodness!) to ensure a perfect fit for your zirconia crowns. 

Your dentist takes a digital impression of your mouth. This allows the lab to create a 3D model of your crown. This procedure is not only more pleasant, but it also creates more accurate impressions.

When the time comes for your crown fitting, you receive a beautifully shaped zirconia crown that fits perfectly in your mouth. This gives your new tooth the most natural appearance possible and allows it to blend in seamlessly.

On average turnaround time for zirconia crowns is about five to ten working days. Your dentist will cement a temporary crown in place while you are waiting for the lab to make your permanent one. 

6. Lower Complication Rates

Besides considering the aesthetics and feel, you want a crown that won’t give you trouble down the line. Zirconia crowns are famous for low complication rates compared to other more brittle types of crowns.

A three-year study examined the success rates of zirconia crowns on real patients. Most of the crowns were fitted to either premolar or molar teeth. The results showed that after three years, none of the zirconia cores of the crowns had fractured. Additionally, no cavities were found on the teeth the zirconia cores were attached to (abutment teeth).

This study demonstrates that zirconia crowns are incredibly strong and lead to few complications.

7. Highly Customizable Material

Every tooth is slightly different, each a work of art in its own way. To create crowns that are as realistic as possible, you need to work with a material that is highly sculptable but retains its strength. Zirconia has both of these qualities. 

Some dental offices have special equipment to make crowns in-house. A combination of computer-aided design and manufacturing creates your customized crowns. A milling machine then takes the design and cuts the crown in the dental office. 

Other dental offices make a 3D digital impression of the tooth and send it to a lab that creates the zirconia crown. This also opens up more options, such as PFZ crowns. 

8. More Tooth Preservation

The gold standard in dentistry is to preserve as much of the natural tooth as possible. All procedures involving a dental crown require the removal of part of the tooth. If the dental crown is thick, your dentist must remove more of the tooth to make enough room.

Zirconia crowns can be extremely thin without sacrificing much of their strength. This allows the dentist to preserve much more of the natural tooth, which is likely to speed your post-procedure tissue recovery and lessen sensitivity in general.

9. Less Time in the Chair

Zirconia crowns are quicker to fit than traditional crowns. There is no need for shading liquids or long drying times. 

And for the dental offices able to make zirconia crowns right in their office, this means that you do not have to come back for a fitting. Your dentist will cement the zirconia crown in place, and you’ll be able to wrap it up in a single visit. 

Talk to your New Bern family dentist about whether this option is suitable for you.

10. No Dark Gumline

Metal crowns have long been the gold standard and continue to have their place. However, when metal is used under porcelain, there is a possibility that the metal can become visible. This can cause a dark, unsightly line at your gumline. It can even happen when using gold alloys.

Zirconia is naturally metal free. In fact, zirconia crowns do not need any metal substructure. This completely prevents that dark line from being a concern. The result is an aesthetically pleasing appearance for the entire life of the crown.  

Are you ready to choose zirconia?

Yes, zirconia crowns are the new kids on the block. But with their super strength, great durability, and natural looks, they’ll be with us for years to come. If you’re considering the best type of dental crown for your needs, we hope we’ve given you 10 good reasons to choose zirconia. 

At Oxley Comprehensive Dentistry our focus is on providing you with the highest-quality care and customer service. We want to ensure you get the right treatment for your needs and leave our clinic with a smile on your face. Contact us today to arrange an appointment and begin your journey with us.