All You Need to Know About Zirconia Crowns: Essential Guide for 2024 - Smiles Dental

All You Need to Know About Zirconia Crowns: Essential Guide for 2024

Dental crowns play a vital role in restoring damaged or decayed teeth, and one of the most popular and innovative materials used for this purpose is zirconia.

Known for its strength and durability, zirconia offers a combination of aesthetic appeal and functionality that makes it a popular choice for dental crowns.

In this article, we’ll delve into what zirconia crowns are, their benefits, and what to expect during the application process.

Zirconia, a type of monolithic ceramic, is more resistant to splitting than other materials such as glass ceramics and dental composites.

This makes it an ideal choice for patients who require a dental restoration capable of withstanding the pressure and wear encountered in daily life.

In addition to its strength, zirconia crowns offer a high level of aesthetic appeal due to their translucent nature, effectively mimicking the appearance of natural teeth.

Dental Crown. Zirconia Crowns

Key Takeaways

  • Zirconia crowns are a strong and durable option for dental restorations
  • Aesthetic appeal of zirconia crowns closely matches the appearance of natural teeth
  • The application process of zirconia crowns is crucial for ensuring longevity and proper fit

Understanding Zirconia Crowns in Dentistry

The Composition and Properties of Zirconia Crowns

Zirconia, or zirconium dioxide, is a crystalline oxide of zirconium known for its impressive mechanical, optical, and biological properties.

In its most naturally occurring form, it is found as baddeleyite with a monoclinic crystalline structure.

One particularly prized type of zirconia used in dentistry is yttria-stabilized zirconia (YTZP) which has a purely tetragonal phase.

This ceramic material exhibits exceptional strength and durability, making it highly suitable for dental applications such as dental crowns.

Furthermore, zirconia is biocompatible, meaning it is well tolerated by the human body and is unlikely to cause adverse reactions.

Comparing Zirconia Crowns with Other Dental Materials

When considering dental materials, it’s essential to compare zirconia with other commonly used materials, such as porcelain, metal, and composite.



















Moderate to High



Low to Moderate

Low to Moderate



As you can see from the table above, zirconia boasts an advantageous combination of properties when compared to other dental materials.

Its strength and durability are among the highest, while also maintaining excellent biocompatibility.

This allows zirconia crowns to be a preferable choice for patients seeking a metal-free alternative with great performance.

Aesthetically, zirconia may not match the natural appearance of porcelain, but it is still considered to be a suitable choice for dental restorations that require both strength and a pleasing appearance.

Benefits and Advantages of Zirconia Crowns

Zirconia Crowns Aesthetic and Functional Superiority

Zirconia crowns offer numerous benefits for both the appearance and function of your teeth.

One key advantage is their excellent match to the natural color and translucency of your teeth, ensuring a more aesthetically pleasing result compared to traditional materials.

Zirconia crowns can be custom-made to perfectly match the size and shape of your existing teeth, blending seamlessly and, in most cases, indistinguishable from your natural teeth.

Another advantage of zirconia crowns lies in their strength and durability.

Monolithic zirconia, a ceramic material used in these crowns, is well-known for being stronger than glass ceramics and dental composites.

This increased strength makes zirconia crowns more resistant to chipping, cracking, and breakage, ensuring long-lasting, functional results.

Additionally, their tough composition makes them less abrasive than other crown materials, reducing the potential for wear on neighboring teeth.

Longevity and Biocompatible Nature

Zirconia crowns are known for their impressive longevity, making them a wise investment for maintaining your oral health.

Due to their durable nature and resistance to stains, they can keep their shape and appearance for an extended period, requiring less frequent replacements than other crown options.

In addition to their durability, zirconia crowns are considered biocompatible.

This means they are less likely to cause an allergic reaction or sensitivity, making them an excellent option for those with allergies to certain metals, such as nickel.

This compatibility with your natural oral environment also offers additional advantages in terms of gum health and overall oral hygiene.

By opting for zirconia crowns, you are choosing a long-lasting, aesthetically pleasing, and health-conscious solution for your dental restoration needs.

Application and Fitting Process of Zirconia Crowns

Steps in Creating a Zirconia Crown

When it comes to restoring your damaged tooth, a zirconia crown can be a great solution.

The application and fitting process involves several steps to ensure that the crown is tailored to your natural tooth effectively.

First, your dentist will assess the condition of your tooth and determine if a zirconia crown is the most suitable restoration method. In some instances, dental fillings or other treatments may be considered.

Once you and your dentist decide to proceed with a zirconia crown, the damaged tooth will be prepared.

This involves removing any decay, filing down the enamel, and shaping the tooth to accommodate the crown. Your dentist will administer a local anesthetic to make you comfortable during the procedure.

Next, your dentist will take an impression of your tooth using advanced technology, such as a digital wand, to create a 3D scan of your mouth.

This impression is then sent to a dental lab, where the zirconia crown is customized to match your natural tooth’s shape, size, and color. This process ensures the crown fits seamlessly with your surrounding teeth.

While waiting for the dental lab to create your zirconia crown, your dentist will place a temporary tooth restoration to protect your prepared tooth.

Once your custom-made zirconia crown is ready, your dentist will remove the temporary restoration, ensuring the fit of the final crown.

Zirconia Crowns Cementation and Aftercare

The final step in the application and fitting process of a zirconia crown is cementation.

Your dentist will clean the internal surface of the crown using a specialized cleaner such as Ivoclean or ZirClean and apply resin-based dental cement to ensure a strong bond between the crown and your natural tooth.

The crown is then placed onto your tooth and expertly adjusted to your bite for optimal comfort and functionality.

Once the cement has set, any excess material will be removed, and your bite will be checked to ensure proper alignment.

Caring for your zirconia crown is essential to maintain its quality and longevity.

Just like your natural teeth, you need to keep regular dental hygiene practices: brushing, flossing, and routine dental checkups.

This helps prevent potential problems, such as dental decay or fractures, that could compromise the crown’s support.

Remember that although zirconia is a durable and full-contour material, it’s essential to avoid unnecessary stress on your crown, such as biting hard objects or using your teeth for inappropriately.

Considerations and Potential Drawbacks

Cost and Insurance Factors

One of the main considerations for zirconia crowns is their cost.

They tend to be pricier than other crown types, with prices ranging from $1,000 to $2,500 or more, depending on factors like geographic location and specific dental needs.

In comparison, traditional metal crowns may cost between $600 to $2,500, while porcelain-fused-to-metal (PFM) crowns usually range from $500 to $1,500 per tooth.

However, it’s important to remember that zirconia crowns offer superior durability and strength, which may outweigh the initial higher cost for many people.

When it comes to insurance, dental plans vary significantly in terms of coverage for zirconia crowns.

Some insurers might partially cover the cost, while others might not cover them at all.

It’s essential to check your insurance policy and discuss options with your dentist before committing to a zirconia crown.

Limitations and Common Concerns

  • Discoloration and opacity: Zirconia crowns offer excellent aesthetics with their natural-looking translucency, closely mimicking the appearance of natural teeth.

However, some concerns have been raised about the potential for discoloration and opacity with layered zirconia crowns.

These issues may arise from the natural aging process or underlying framework zirconia affecting the overall appearance.

Full-contour monolithic zirconia crowns may be a more suitable option for those concerned about this issue as they are less prone to these concerns.

  • Cracking and debonding problems: Despite their inherent strength and split-resistant nature, zirconia crowns can crack under extreme pressure when chewing on hard objects.

It’s essential to avoid biting on hard foods or using your teeth to open packages to minimize this risk.

Debonding problems are also a possible concern with zirconia crowns, particularly if the dentist doesn’t use the correct bonding protocol during the placement process.

  • Compatibility with dental implants and root canals: Zirconia crowns are appropriate for use with dental implants and root canals.

They are stronger than porcelain and generally cause less stress and damage to the underlying tooth structures.

However, proper dentistry practices must still be followed for successful usage in these situations.

  • Anterior and posterior multi-unit bridges: Monolithic zirconia is an excellent choice for both anterior and posterior multi-unit bridges due to its durability and resistance to cracking.

However, patients should be aware that zirconia crowns can still experience wear and damage over time, although the risk is generally lower in comparison to other dental materials.

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