Zirconia vs Porcelain Crowns
Patients often request to use zirconia or porcelain crowns rather than a metal-based crown as these types of restorations are both durable and attractive. Zirconia has gained recent popularity as an alternative to the more popular porcelain-fused-to-metal (PFM) restorations. In some cases, dentists will chose to exclusively use zirconia or all-ceramic restorations. This is especially common when a single tooth is being restored. It is common in modern dentistry for a practice to switch from traditional PFM or all-ceramic crowns and begin using zirconia for dental crowns. Zirconia is commonly used for crowns and bridges because it is incredibly durable and attractive. The material is even strong enough to withstand the forces of chewing and grinding food.
As suggested by the name, porcelain fused to metal (PFM) crowns use a combination of both porcelain and metal. The porcelain overlay gives the crown the tooth-like appearance which can be matched to the natural teeth. Unfortunately, the dark metal color can be visible at the gum line. This is especially common for patients with receding gums. A PFM restoration is typically recommended for patients who want a natural looking restoration which is strong and durable.
Zirconia provides patients with an exceptionally strong and durable crowns. Zirconia is reported to be at least three times stronger than a porcelain or PFM restoration. Zirconia, unlike porcelain, is able to withstand the normal wear and tear without chipping or becoming damaged. Zirconia restorations are even able to withstand bruxism and extreme chewing. Monolithic zirconia, which are single, solid blocks of zirconia, give the crowns the ability to even be used in the back of the mouth.
Zirconia is highly biocompatible meaning it will not cause an allergic reaction. While it is uncommon, some patients experience allergies to a PFM crown. Some patients are actually allergic to the alloys which are used to create a PFM crown. Patients with known metal allergies should consider using zirconia for their crown. Zirconia is exceptionally biocompatible and very safe for use in dental restorations placed in the mouth.
Zirconia does not contain a metal lining at the gum line. With porcelain fused to metal (PFM) crowns, there is a thin layer of metal below the porcelain at the very top of the crown. Unfortunately, this metal lining is often visible when the patient smiles. Because zirconia crowns do not contain metal, this can be avoided. Zirconia crowns can also be adjusted to closely match the patient’s natural teeth.
Zirconia is incredibly durable. It is actually more durable than ceramics used in PFM crowns. Because solid zirconia contains more stabilizers compared to PFM ceramics, it is more durable and able to endure the forces from regular chewing and grinding. When they are well maintained and good oral hygiene is followed, zirconia crowns can last for a lifetime.
For years, zirconia has been successfully used for dental restorations. Zirconia restorations provide patients with excellent strength, durability, and a natural appearance. The number of patients interested in zirconia restorations is greater than the demand for PFM restorations. Follow up with your dentist today if you are interested in pursuing a zirconia restoration. Many patients qualify as excellent candidates for zirconia crowns.