What You Need to Know About Zirconia Dental Crowns

If you’re considering improving your smile, one effective solution is a dental crown. Dental crowns are tooth-shaped caps that function as a protective cover for your teeth or dental implant. It also helps to restore the shape of your teeth and conceal damage, severe wear, and discolouration. It can also support weak, misshapen, or broken teeth. Dental crowns can also be used in conjunction with bridges to support teeth

Dental crowns come in a wide variety of materials including metal, ceramic, resin, and zirconium — but what are the best quality dental crowns? Unfortunately, there’s no clear-cut answer for that, since the best option for you would depend on your objectives, whether it’s for purely aesthetic reasons or teeth strengthening. 

Find out more about zirconia dental crowns to help you decide if it’s the best solution for you.

Advantages of Zirconia Dental Crown 

Zirconia crowns are durable Zirconia dental crowns are made using zirconium dioxide, a highly durable metal that’s related to titanium, although it’s classified as a type of ceramic crown. It gained popularity in the early 2000s and offers the following benefits:

  • Durable
    One of the amazing advantages of zirconia crowns is their durability and strength. Just think of how much force your back teeth exert on the food that you chew. Since zirconia is such a powerful material, the crown can last longer and the dentist won’t have to do as much to prepare the tooth.
  • Long-lasting
    How long do zirconia porcelain crowns last? Zirconia dental crowns can last up to 5 years just like metal-based ones, based on a 2017 controlled trial published in the Journal of Dentistry. Not to mention, the zirconia-based crowns, called monolithic zirconia crowns, are also considered highly durable.
  • Biocompatible
    If a material is biocompatible, it’s less likely to trigger allergic reactions or immunological responses such as inflammation. Zirconia’s biocompatibility makes it a great choice for those who are sensitive or have a history of allergies.
  • Easy to Install
    Various dental professionals can create zirconia crowns in their offices and won’t need to send a tooth impression to a lab to have a crown made. They can actually cement your crown in your mouth in a single appointment. It eliminates the need to stretch the procedure into two appointments. Ask your dentist if they have the resources to offer in-house zirconia dental crowns.
  • Price
    Zirconia crowns are affordable. Priced lower than other options like Emax, full gold, and porcelain-bonded-to metal crowns (PBM), they are cost-effective solutions.

Disadvantages of Zirconia Dental Crowns

Dental crowns should look naturalWhile it has many advantages, the material also has its downsides: 

  • Appearance
    A zirconia dental crown is opaque and doesn’t look as natural as porcelain. This is apparent in monolithic zirconia crowns, which are made purely of zirconia. However, if you need the crowns for teeth at the back of the mouth, this characteristic doesn’t present much of a problem.
  • Hardness
    Because zirconia crowns are extremely hard, there is a possibility that it may cause premature wear and tear on the opposing teeth. However, a 2012 study in the Journal of Dentistry has concluded that zirconia ceramic is less likely to cause damage compared to crowns made of feldspathic porcelain.

Zirconia Crown Prep and Procedure

Dental X-rays might be required for dental crowns
There are 2 main kinds of procedures for installing a crown: 

  • Same-Day Procedure
    This procedure is only possible if the dentist has the right equipment and technology to make a zirconia crown in their office. Your dentist will:

    • Check your mouth, take digital photos, and prepare the tooth for the procedure, which can include administering a local anesthetic.
    • Use the digital scan from the pictures to make the crown in the clinic.
    • Cement the dental crown into place.
  • 2-Visit Procedure
    For this procedure, the first visit is dedicated to assessment and preparations. At this time, your dentist will:

    • Take a dental X-ray and prepare the tooth for the procedure, which can include administering a local anesthetic.
    • Remove part of the tooth’s outer layer if needed.
    • Create an impression of the tooth.
    • Install a temporary crown over the tooth.
    • Have the dental lab make the crown using the impressions.
    • Ask you to return to their office/ clinic after the new crown is created so that they can cement it to the teeth.

The permanent crown is installed on the second visit. 

After the procedure, your dentist may give you aftercare instructions. Make sure to follow what they tell you so your zirconia crown lasts for a long time. Don’t forget to brush and floss regularly to avoid tooth decay and other dental health problems.

Making the Right Choice

Consult with your dentist to determine the material best suited for you
Now knowing the pros and cons of the material, you may be wondering
which is better — a zirconia dental crown or a porcelain one?

While the opacity level of zirconia makes it less likely to appear natural, some dentists resolve this issue by adding a porcelain layer on top of the zirconia. A crown that’s made this way has a more natural appearance for better colour-matching. However, some experts say that a porcelain layer can make your crown more prone to chipping or delaminating (separate in layers). 

To determine the best course of action, consult with your dentist. They will take into account various factors. This includes how much of the natural tooth remains, the location and function of the tooth that needs the crown, the colour of the surrounding teeth, and the amount of gum that’s exposed when you talk or smile. 

Zirconia Crown vs Dental Implants

While a zirconia crown is a good choice if you need a crown on one of your weak or damaged teeth, it’s not the only solution. 

Implants are now considered to be a better option than dental crowns if cost is not an issue. Implants don’t affect other teeth, and there’s a lower infection risk underneath your bridge. However, unlike dental crowns, dental implants have various requirements for eligibility. People with certain conditions (like uncontrolled diabetes) or are undergoing certain procedures (like radiation to the jaws) are not eligible for implants. 

To make an informed decision, ask your dentist about everything you want to know, including what to expect before and after the zirconia crown is installed. Also, speak with them about other options.

Your dentist can help you achieve that perfect smile
Dentists do so much more than help take care of your teeth; it’s also our job to make your teeth look their best. At Lakeside Family Dental, we offer our patients a wide range of family and cosmetic dentistry procedures to restore the natural appearance of your teeth and help preserve your smiles. Give us a call at (905) 637-0801 to book your appointment.

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