Zirconia vs Porcelain Crowns

Today there are many types of dental crowns to choose from. In the past, the most common type of dental crown installed was a metal-based crown. It is becoming increasingly more common for dental providers to use zirconia or all-ceramic restorations almost exclusively. Of all of the options there are to choose from, zirconia crowns have become the most popular choice for dental crowns due to the fact that they are aesthetically pleasing and nearly indestructible. Below is more information on the pros and cons comparing zirconia crowns to porcelain crowns.

What is Zirconia?

Zirconia comes from the metal, zirconium, which is a form of titanium. Believe it or not, many household items are made from zirconia, including dinnerware, pipes, and electrical fixtures. This all means that zirconia is a naturally strong and durable material, making it an ideal material for dental crowns.

Porcelain Crowns

Porcelain crowns, or technically, porcelain fused to metal (PFM) crowns, are made from a mixture of porcelain and metal materials. Porcelain crowns are very strong thanks to their metal base, but have a tooth-like appearance to match your natural teeth thanks to the porcelain coating. Many providers have preferred PFM crowns for years due to the benefits and durability they offer to patients.

Benefits of Zirconia vs Porcelain Crowns

Porcelain crowns have been a popular solution for decades, but zirconia crowns have recently become more popular due to the many benefits they offer. A few benefits of zirconia crowns to consider include:

  • Strength: Zirconia is a naturally strong and durable material. It is estimated that zirconia crowns are at least three times stronger than porcelain crowns. Zirconia crowns are built to withstand chewing, grinding, and everyday stress just like natural teeth.
  • Natural Appearance: PFM crowns have a metal structure underneath a porcelain top. However, sometimes this metal lining is visible at the gum line. Zirconia crowns are metal free, meaning they offer a more natural looking tooth-like appearance. Additionally, zirconia crowns can be custom-made to match the shape and size of the other teeth in the mouth.
  • Durability: If well-maintained with proper oral hygiene, zirconia crowns are more durable than the PFM crowns. In fact, many dental providers believe zirconia crowns can last for several decades.
  • Safer for Patients: Zirconia is a biocompatible material, meaning it will not cause allergies and the body will not reject it. PFM restorations may cause allergic reactions in patients with metal allergies. Providers will recommend any patients with metal allergies or alloy sensitivity consider zirconia crowns. Unlike PFMs, zirconia crowns and bridges are extremely safe for all dental patients.

Zirconia crowns have become the most popular choice for dental crowns because they provide patients with a dental restoration that is strong, durable, and aesthetically appealing. Due to the many benefits they offer over PFMs, the demand for zirconia crowns has significantly increased. If your dental provider has suggested you need a dental crown, you should have a discussion with them about your dental crown options and which option may be right for you.

How Long Do Zirconia Crowns Last?