Zirconia vs Porcelain Crowns

Zirconia vs Porcelain Crowns


A dental crown is a common dental restoration that is used to treat a tooth that has severe decay or has fractured. A crown covers the entire visible tooth structure all the way to the gum line and can save a compromised tooth from being extracted. There are a number of materials used to make dental crowns including porcelain, porcelain-fused-to-metal (PFM), and zirconia. PFM crowns have been used for years to restore teeth because they are very strong but zirconia or other all-porcelain options are becoming more popular because not only are they strong, they are much more aesthetically pleasing for the patient.


PFM crowns are a porcelain overlay with a metal substructure. The porcelain is colored to match your natural teeth but over time, gum recession can expose the underlying metal along the gum line, giving an unnatural look and need to be replaced. This causes a lot of dentists to use all porcelain restorations exclusively.


What is zirconia?

Zirconia is a metal oxide derived from zirconium, which is a metal in the titanium family. Even though it has metal properties, zirconia has a high rate of biocompatibility even for patients with metal allergies. Crowns fabricated from zirconia are incredibly strong and are ideal for posterior teeth that take a lot of abuse when chewing. Patients that experience bruxism (unconscious clenching and grinding of the teeth) also have success with zirconia crowns!


Zirconia vs PFM Crowns

PFM crowns are extremely durable but zirconia can provide strength and durability at least three times stronger than that of porcelain only or PFM restorations. Zirconia is resistant to regular wear and tear whereas porcelain can chip from bruxism or even chewing. Bruxism can have a negative impact on natural teeth and crowns alike but crowns milled from a solid block of zirconia enables them to withstand the use of back teeth better than porcelain crowns.


The chemical composition and processing of zirconia enables it to be manufactured to meet the needs of each patient on an individual level, allowing for customization abilities to reduce margin of error and enables your dentist to provide an optimal fit for each case.


Benefits of Zirconia

PFM crowns have a metal base layer beneath the porcelain which, over time, can begin to show at the gum line due to the natural gum recession that comes with age, leading to an unnatural looking restoration. Zirconia crowns do not contain metal and allow the patient to have a beautiful, natural-looking restoration for the entire life of the crown.


For patients who suffer from metal allergies, PFM crowns can lead to inflammation and irritation in the gum tissue so zirconia may be the better choice. Zirconia has high biocompatibility making the crowns and bridges fabricated using zirconia ideal for dental restorations, especially in patients with metal sensitivities.


Zirconia dental restorations have been used for years, providing strength and durability along with natural-looking results. Speak with your dentist about a zirconia crown or bridge if you find that you need a dental restoration so that you can choose the best option for you!


Advantages of Zirconia Crowns