In recent history, crowns have been made of cast gold alloys that are strong enough to withstand the forces of chewing. Where appearance is more important, dentists use porcelain to match the color of natural teeth, but this material is more fragile than gold and can sometimes chip. Zirconia is one of several newer ceramic-like materials that combine the strength of metal with the aesthetic appeal of porcelain. A report by the Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health details the pros and cons of mixing and matching crown construction. While porcelain-fused crowns have been used for decades, newer materials like zirconia are still undergoing continuous development to improve their clinical performance.
Advantages of Zirconia Crowns
Zirconia has some distinct advantages as a material for crowns:
It can be matched to the color of existing teeth.
It is extremely strong, requiring less tooth preparation than other materials.
It can be layered with porcelain, further improving its aesthetic appearance.
Zirconia crowns can be bonded or cemented, giving your dentist more options.
Zirconia has the ability to be "milled" or shaped in the dental office. In other words, your crown might be made and delivered in one appointment, possibly saving you time and expense!
This material is biocompatible, meaning it doesn't cause adverse reactions when implanted in the human body.