Zirconia crowns offer the best of both worlds.
Dental crowns are often the key to restoring and protecting your natural teeth, even after they’ve suffered severe damage, so it’s a good idea to explore your options before getting a crown. After all, you want to choose the best type of crown for you. For several years now, metal, porcelain, and porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns have been the primary options when it comes to dental crowns. Like anything else, each type has its own positives and negatives. Dentistry is always changing and improving, however, and a new type of crown that combines a lot of the best aspects of both metal and porcelain crowns is rising to prominence: zirconia. Zirconia crowns are made from zirconium dioxide, which is a naturally white metal that’s similar to titanium. They’re still very new, so you may not have heard of them before, but zirconia crowns are a great option if you need a dental crown. Here are 10 advantages of zirconia crowns that make them worth considering.
1. Strength and Durability
Your molars can actually exert a surprising amount of force as you chew, so your crown needs to be able to stand up to this daily wear and tear. The fact that zirconia crowns are made from metal is reflected in their strength and durability, which helps them resist wear and tear over time. The metal isn’t prone to cracking or chipping, either, so it has the strength and durability it needs to do everything you need your teeth to do! Because of this, most experts assert that there’s no stronger material for dental crowns.
Despite the fact that zirconia crowns are made from a metal alloy, they achieve an incredibly natural appearance. This is one reason they’re often referred to as ceramic crowns—when it comes to their appearance, they have far more in common with porcelain crowns than they do with metal crowns. Traditional metal crowns are very obvious in your mouth even when they’re on back molars, but the metal that zirconia crowns are made from is naturally white. Just like porcelain crowns, zirconia crowns can be buffed to gain a natural gloss and tinted to match the color of your existing teeth. The metal that zirconia crowns are made from is also slightly translucent. Since the enamel on your teeth is also a little translucent, this helps the crowns look even more natural. When your treatment is complete, your smile will look just as naturally beautiful as it always has! Additionally, while porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns can cause a small, gray line to form at your gum line over time, zirconia crowns don’t do this. This allows your crown to maintain its natural beauty for years to come.
Zirconia crowns aren’t milled the way that porcelain crowns are, but they’re just as capable of being customized. They’re easy to mold into the exact shape and size you want, which creates a huge artistic advantage when your crown is being designed. You can choose to make your new crown look exactly like your damaged tooth or you can take the opportunity to transform its appearance. It doesn’t end there, though! Even once your zirconia crown has been placed on your tooth, it’s relatively easy to modify. Your dentist can adjust the shape or tint of your crown even after it’s placed, ensuring that it looks exactly right without having to send it back to the lab for adjustments. This also means that it’s easy to adjust or repair the crown over time instead of replacing it. For example, if the shade of your teeth changes over time due to staining or a professional whitening treatment, the color of your zirconia crown can be changed to match them again.
4. Comfortable and Precise Fit
Just like porcelain crowns, zirconia crowns are made using precise impressions of your natural teeth. They’re molded in an outside lab by expert technicians, ensuring that they fit perfectly. If adjustments do need to be made to your crown when your dentist first places it, however, it’s easy for them to make adjustments right then and there. This process makes sure that your crown will look, feel, and function just like a natural tooth.
Zirconium dioxide is very similar to titanium. It’s even biocompatible, which means your body is very unlikely to reject it or trigger an immune response—instead, your body treats biocompatible materials as if they’re part of it. As a result, zirconia is very unlikely to cause an allergic reaction even if you have a metal allergy. This makes it a great option for many people, including those who can’t get traditional metal crowns!
In addition to being incredibly strong and durable, zirconia crowns are also stain-resistant! They’re actually more resistant to staining than your natural teeth, so they’ll stay bright and beautiful long-term. Since your natural teeth will stain more easily than your crown, however, you should try to prevent your teeth from staining by limiting the amount of dark foods and drinks that you consume.
7. Preserves More of Your Natural Tooth
Since zirconia is made from an incredibly strong, durable metal, zirconia crowns can be made thinner without sacrificing strength. This means that your dentist doesn’t have to take off as much of your natural tooth to accommodate it. It’s always best for your long-term oral health to preserve as much of your natural tooth structure as possible, so this is just one more way that zirconia crowns help protect your future oral health.
8. Resistant to Temperature Changes
In general, metal is temperature-sensitive, which means that it expands in hot temperatures and contracts in cold temperatures. As a result, traditional metal crowns can put increased stress on your natural tooth or cause issues like tooth sensitivity over time. This temperature sensitivity can also eventually cause traditional metal crowns to crack and fail. Zirconium dioxide is resistant to temperature changes, however, so it won’t put stress on your teeth or make your tooth sensitive to hot and cold temperatures. Since zirconia crowns won’t crack due to temperature changes, this temperature resistance also adds to their durability and helps them last even longer.
Technically, most types of dental crowns can be placed on any of your teeth, but some are less aesthetically pleasing than others. Metal crowns, for example, aren’t always the best for front teeth because they become a prominent feature of your smile, while crowns made from less durable materials like resin aren’t ideal for molars. Since zirconia crowns are both durable and natural-looking, they’re versatile enough to be placed on any tooth that needs to be protected by a crown. This means you’re able to adapt the crown to your needs, getting long-lasting strength and durability as well as the beauty of a natural tooth all in one crown!
The strength, durability, temperature resistance, and stain resistance of zirconia crowns work together to give them impressive longevity. But if you want to get the most out of any crown, you need to take care of it with a regular oral hygiene routine. This means that you should floss at least once a day, brush your teeth for two minutes twice a day, and use mouthwash once or twice a day. When it’s taken care of properly, your zirconia crown should last between 10 and 15 years—though it has the potential to last even longer! It’s easy to see why zirconia crowns are gaining traction so quickly—they have the best of both worlds, combining the strength and durability of metal crowns with the versatility and beauty of porcelain crowns. These factors enable zirconia crowns to save even severely damaged or decayed teeth, protecting them for years to come. If you need a crown or would like to learn more about what types of crowns our dentist in Anchorage, AK, offers, feel free to call and schedule a consultation with Dr. Robinson or Dr. Lyerly at any time!