When you are going to get a dental crown, you want to be sure that you choose one that is going to last the longest. There are several types of dental crowns to choose from, and if you want a non-metallic one, you will need to consider the benefits of a zirconia crown vs. porcelain. These are the best two options.
The Need for Dental Crowns
Dental crowns play a large part in cosmetic dentistry and restoring teeth to a natural appearance. Instead of losing teeth when the root is still good, the top part of the tooth – the crown – is removed, and a new artificial crown takes its place. In other cases, dental crowns are used to protect a weak tooth, to cap off a root canal, or it may also be used on top of dental implants.
For a while, porcelain crowns had become very popular, and they still are today. One of the best features of a porcelain ceramic crown is that it looks like a real tooth. It is translucent and reflects light, just like your natural teeth.
Porcelain crowns come in different types, which provide people with various options. The strength of a crown is because of the porcelain fused to metal. The metal base makes it very robust but can be seen sometimes as a dark line right above your gums if your gums recede or if a chip of it is broken off.
Other options include an all-ceramic, all-porcelain, or a pressed ceramic crown. These options provide excellent natural color, but the all-ceramic version is better suited for front teeth because it is not as strong. A pressed ceramic crown has a hard core with ceramic on top. It is much more durable than the other two options.
On the negative side, porcelain crowns, although more durable than your natural teeth enamel, are also more brittle. This means that the porcelain can break easier than your natural teeth, and this may leave sharp edges that can damage the opposite teeth.
The other type of crown is a more recent development – a zirconia crown. A need to create a non-metallic dental material was the driving force in evolution. While most people may be familiar with cubic zirconia, which is used to create imitation diamonds that have a tremendous sparkle, another form, zirconium oxide, is now commonly being used in dentistry. This product, which has some metal atoms in it, is naturally white – similar to the color of your teeth. The amount of metal is almost negligible.
Zirconia crowns come in two types. One kind is solid zirconia, which is the same material throughout. The other kind is layered. Both types provide a good degree of translucency and opalescence, and they will reflect the color of neighboring teeth.
Advantages of Zirconia
A zirconia dental crown offers many advantages over a porcelain crown. These include:
- Zirconium is biocompatible – This means that the body will accept it. Being that it is biocompatible, it is improbable that a reaction to it will take place, and none have yet ever been reported.
- Solid zirconia crowns are solid and more reliable than a layered one. They are also much more durable than a porcelain crown with a metal base, making it ideal for back teeth where a lot of pressure is typically exerted. It also enables the crown to last a lifetime. At present, they offer the most robust material yet for dental crowns.
A zirconium crown that is either solid or layered can be made using CAD and computer-aided manufacturing (CAM). It can also be made on the spot in the dentist’s office. When made with a milling machine, it is made from a single block of zirconium. For dentists who have this equipment, it enables them to be able to make the crown immediately. Then it is cemented in place, completing the entire process in just one visit.
A layered zirconium crown has a more natural appearance, but it is not as strong. It is, however, still more reliable than a porcelain crown with a metal base (Porcelain Fused to Metal – PFM). The better translucence makes it ideal for front teeth. Zirconia can also be made to match the color of your existing teeth.
When comparing porcelain to zirconia crowns, there are features of both that make them excellent choices. If it is more important to you to have a more natural look, you want a porcelain crown. If it is strength and longevity you want, with a white appearance, then choose zirconium.
ToothHQ Dental Specialists offer four dentist offices located in Carrollton, Cedar Hill, Dallas, and Grapevine, TX. For a consultation or dental treatment for better dental health, you can contact his office today at (214)731-0123.