Zirconia Crown – Types, Advantages & Disadvantages

Zirconia crown is a ceramic dental crown which has become popular due to its aesthetic appearance and durability. The zirconia crowns mimic natural tooth due to their translucent appearance.

Let us talk about the types of zirconia crown, their advantages, disadvantages, and cost.

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What is dental zirconia crown?

The chemical composition is zirconium dioxide which is powdered zirconium. The use of zirconia dental crowns started in the 1990s.

These crowns are most durable among the available dental crowns. Zirconia is durable and biocompatible. Apart from being used as dental crown, zirconia also finds its use in various prosthetic surgeries.

Monolithic zirconia (a single block of zirconia) is used to prepare zirconia crowns. Zirconia made from a single block is resistant to fracture and doesn’t chip off, unlike porcelain crowns. (1) (2)

Types of zirconia

There are two types of zirconia as solid and high translucent.

Solid zirconia

  • Solid zirconia can withstand chewing and bruxism forces better than its counterpart.
  • Solid zirconia is better suited for weak teeth (such as root canal treated molar) which need strength to withstand masticatory forces.
  • Due to strength and opacity, the crown is better suited for posterior teeth.

High translucent zirconia

  • High translucent zirconia resembles natural teeth in appearance due to superior esthetics.
  • The strength is less than the solid zirconia.
  • Suited for anterior teeth due to its tooth-like appearance.

Advantages of zirconia crown

Esthetics

Zirconia is translucent hence it appears like natural teeth.

Also, zirconia crowns do not have any metal lining hence they look better than porcelain fused with metal crown and help you smile confidently.

Strength

Zirconia doesn’t chip off like porcelain crown and can also withstand forces of bruxism. It is almost five times stronger than porcelain crowns.

Zirconia is resistant to high temperatures and doesn’t cause sensitivity. Zirconia lasts longer than porcelain crowns and is resistant to acid which makes it easy to keep the crown clean.

Biocompatible

Biocompatibility means that the material will not cause any adverse effects on the body. Zirconia is biocompatible. Patients with zirconia crown have not reported back with allergies, yet.

Bonding with teeth

Zirconia bonds well with the tooth surface and require less tooth removal than other types of crowns.

People who prefer gold due to its physical properties but do not like the color can opt for zirconia crowns since both of them have comparable properties.

The popularity of zirconia crowns is due to its aesthetics more than its strength. With the present generation being very conscious about the way we look, the resemblance of zirconia crowns to natural teeth is enough to earn brownie points.

The shape of zirconia crowns can be modified to look better than the natural tooth that it will replace hence enhancing the smile of the person.

Disadvantages of zirconia crown

  • Zirconia crowns may cause damage to the opposing natural teeth due to its strength.
  • Detecting decay underneath the crown is difficult.
  • Zirconia crowns are costly and will cost you more than normal crowns. But this is usually a one-time investment so shouldn’t be much of a negative. Cheaper crowns tend to fall off or stain in the long run.

Preparation of tooth for the crown

  • In your first visit, the dentist will prepare the tooth and take an impression of the tooth and send it to the laboratory. The dentist will assess the condition of the tooth and inform you about the procedure.
    The dentist will clean your tooth, and with a drill shape the tooth accordingly. Later, he will ask you to bite into a putty mold which he will send to the lab for processing of the crown.
  • In the second visit, your dentist will fix the crown. The dentist uses a special acid to increase the roughness of the tooth surface which helps to improve the bonding between crown and tooth surface.
    Before fixing the crown with cement, the dentist will ensure that the appearance and fit of the crown are good enough. The crown is given a final polish after cementation. (3)

Steps to take care of your crown

  1. Brush your teeth after each meal and every time you drink tea or coffee rinse your mouth with regular water.
  2. Floss your teeth regularly.
  3. Use a fluoride-based mouth rinse once daily to rinse your mouth.
  4. Visit your dentist for a check-up every six months. In case of any problem, your dentist will be able to figure out in the nascent stages.
  5. The duration up to which your crown lasts will depend on how you care for your teeth. The joining between the crown and gum line is a critical zone, and you must make sure to keep that region clean else secondary caries can develop underneath the crown.

Cost of zirconia crowns

In the US the cost of a zirconia crown is around $1000, and if your clinic is in a prime location, then the charges would be even higher.

The price depends on the location of the dental clinic, treating dentist (specialist or general dentist) and the number of sittings (single or multiple).

If you can travel for your dental treatment to a town or some not so expensive place, then the price will be around 10% less than a prime location. Zirconia crowns are cheap in countries like Mexico, India, Hungary, etc.

If you opt for multiple sittings, then the cost of the crown will be less. But, you will have to spend more time in the clinic due to the increase in the number of visits to the dentist.

If a specialist dentist does your treatment, his treatment charges will be higher than a general dentist.

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Over to you

The only disadvantage of zirconia crowns is its cost. But since this will be a one-time investment, you can consider spending on a zirconia crown. Also, various dental clinics keep giving certain discounts.

Make an informed choice and after the crown placement, do take good care of oral hygiene.

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