Porcelain vs. Zirconium Dental Crowns – Which is Better?

Do You Want a Crown to Last a Long Time?

When you are going to get a dental crown, you want to be sure that you get one that is going to last. There are several types of crowns to choose from, and if you want a non-metallic one, you will need to consider the benefits of a zirconia crown vs porcelain. These really are the best two options. 


The Need for Dental Crowns

Dental crowns play a large part in cosmetic dentistry and restoring teeth to a natural appearance. Instead of losing teeth when the root is still good, the top part of the tooth – the crown – is removed and a new crown is put in its place. In other cases, a dental crown is used to protect a tooth that is weak, to cap off a root canal, or it may be used on top of a dental implant. 


Porcelain Crowns

For a while, porcelain crowns had become very popular, and they still are today. One of the best features of a porcelain ceramic crown is that it looks like a real tooth. It is translucent and reflects light just like your natural teeth. 

Porcelain crowns come in different types, which provide people with some options. A crown that is very strong is porcelain fused to metal. The metal base for it adds strength, but it can be seen sometimes as a dark line right above your gums, if your gums recede or if a chip of it is broken off. 

Other options include an all-ceramic or an all porcelain crown, or a pressed ceramic. These options provide excellent natural color, but the all-ceramic version is better suited for front teeth because it is not as strong. A pressed ceramic crown has a hard core with ceramic on top. It is stronger than the other two. 

On the negative side, porcelain crowns, although stronger than your natural teeth enamel, are also more brittle. This means that they can break easier than your natural teeth, and this may leave sharp edges which can damage the opposite teeth. 


Zirconium Crowns

The other type of crown is a more recent development – a zirconia crown. It was developed because there was a need to create a dental material that was non-metallic. While most people may be familiar with cubic zirconia, which is used to create imitation diamonds that have a tremendous sparkle, another form, zirconium oxide, is now commonly being used in dentistry. This product, which has some metal atoms in it, is naturally white – similar to the color of your teeth. The amount of metal is almost negligible.

Zirconia crowns come in two types. One kind is solid zirconia, which is the same material throughout. The other kind is layered. Both types provide a good degree of being translucent and opalescent, and they will reflect the color of neighboring teeth. 


Advantages of Zirconia

A zirconia dental crown offers a number of advantages over a porcelain crown. These include:

  • Zirconium is biocompatible – This means that the body will accept it. Being that it is biocompatible, it is very unlikely that a reaction to it will take place, and none have yet ever been reported. 
  • Solid zirconia crowns are very strong, and stronger than a layered one. They are also much stronger than a porcelain crown with a metal base. This makes it ideal for back teeth where a lot of pressure will be put on it. It also enables the crown to last a lifetime. At the present time, they offer the strongest material yet for dental crowns.


Computer Manufactured

A zirconium crown that is either solid or layered can be made using CAD and computer aided manufacturing (CAM). It can also be made on the spot in the dentist’s office. When made with a milling machine, it is made from a single block of zirconium. For dentists who have this equipment, it enables them to be able to make the crown immediately. Then it is cemented in place, completing the entire process in just one visit. 

A layered zirconium crown has a more natural appearance, but it is not as strong. It is, however, still stronger than a porcelain crown with a metal base (Porcelain Fused to Metal – PFM). The better translucence makes it ideal for front teeth. Zirconia can also be made to match the color of your existing teeth. 

When comparing porcelain to zirconia crowns, there are features of both that make them excellent choices. If it is more important to you to have a more natural look, you want a porcelain crown. If it is strength and longevity you want, with a more white appearance, then choose zirconium. 

When you need a new crown and you live in the Carrollton, Cedar Hill, Dallas or Grapevine, TX areas, you can visit the offices of Dr. Kumar T. Vadivel, DDS, FDS RCS, MS, a Board certified Periodontist. He offers both types and will be glad to tell you more about zirconia crown vs porcelain. For more information, or to set up an appointment, call his office today at (214) 731-0123.