Zirconia is a metal classified as a member of the titanium family and is mined around the world. It is found in dinnerware and electrical fixtures among other products. It's known for its durability,making it an ideal product to use in dental crowns, especially posterior crowns that require a lot of strength for chewing and grinding food
There are two types of zirconia:
Solid and high translucent. Both of them can be made using the CAD CAM technology. CAD stands for Computer Aided Designing and CAM stands for Computer Aided Manufacturing.These technologies give you a precise fit and unmatchable look.
- As the name suggests solid zirconia is tougher compared to the high translucent zirconia. It can withstand chewing forces as well as bruxism forces better.
- Solid zirconia also suits root canal treated teeth, by offering stronger support to weak teeth.
- As it’s opaque, it’s more suited for posterior/ back teeth.
High translucent zirconia
- This is a type of zirconia which gives you superior looks that exactly resemble your natural teeth. It is more suited for anterior/ front teeth
- Though it is superior in looks, its strength is higher than PFM/ Porcelain Fused to Metal bridges.
- If you need extensive orthodontic treatment to correct the alignment of your teeth, your dentist may not prefer high translucent zirconia.
Advantages of Zirconium Crown:
Zirconium is becoming one of the most chosen materials for dental crowns. Its many advantages include:
- Superior looks: as zirconia is white naturally, it allows the transformations to any shade which match with the rest of your teeth. Zirconia is translucent, thus, it mimics the translucency of your natural teeth.
- More confident smile: zirconia has no metal lining at the gums. Porcelain Fused to metal crowns/ PFM were popular earlier, however they have a metal layer underneath the porcelain layer which is on top of the crown. This fusion / metal lining is visible usually at the gum line. This is more evident when you smile. Zirconia crowns help you get over this and boost your confidence. You can also give zirconia any shape/ size to match the rest of your teeth.
- 100% biocompatible: no zirconia crown allergy has been reported so far. (The fact that this material is biocompatible means that it is safe to stay within your mouth for a long time. There is no need to worry about any adverse / allergic reactions from your body because it is not rejected by the human body.)
- Extraordinarily tough: zirconia is the strongest crown, it can withstand wear and tear. It does not chip off, unlike porcelain. If you maintain it well, it can stay in your mouth forever. It is at least five times stronger than porcelain or porcelain fused to metal/ PFM. It also tolerates chewing or biting forces well. It has a very high flexural strength: zirconia has a flexural strength of 1200 MPa. (Flexural strength is the force that your crown tolerates)
- They bond well with your tooth: zirconia crowns adhere well to your tooth. One of the reasons why PFM crowns were the preferred choice is that the metal surface bonds well with the tooth and holds the crown in place. Zirconia also has this property. These crowns require less tooth removal(cutting) than many other types of dental crowns
- Metal free: many people used to prefer gold crowns because of its excellent physical properties. However, now since looks are more important to people, they want to look natural and young. Some people also don’t like having metals in their body. Zirconia is most suited for them.
Zirconia manufacturers are now producing and designing dental crowns custom milled from solid block of the material and baked at ultra high temperatures to ensure that the finished crowns are almost indestructible.