Can Zirconia Crowns Crack

A dental crown is a restoration that is used to restore a tooth that has severe decay or that has fractured or been otherwise compromised. Often, a dental crown may be used to replace a very large filling or on a tooth that has had a root canal. A root canal treated tooth can become brittle overtime so it is important that an appropriate restoration is placed to ensure the integrity of the tooth. Porcelain is often the material of choice for dental crowns but another material, zirconia, is one of the strongest materials available and can last up to 20 years with proper care and maintenance.

What is Zirconia?

Zirconia is a ceramic material made from zirconium dioxide, which is a metal oxide, and has an incredible strength due to its tetragonal crystalline properties. Zirconia dental restorations do not require a metal substructure so they are very natural-looking and aesthetically pleasing.

Zirconia has not been around very long but studies estimate the longevity at about 20 years. As with any dental restoration, the actual length of time a patient is able to keep a restoration depends on their oral health and maintenance routine. Zirconia crowns came into the picture in 2010 but had been used in endodontic treatment before that time. Even though metal is not required for a zirconia crown, a framework for a porcelain-fused-to-zirconia crown or bridge or even a veneer may be used in some cases.

What types of zirconia crowns are available?

There are actually a few different types of zirconia crowns available to patients. Zirconia is becoming increasingly common for dental crowns so your Dentist may suggest one of these for your restoration.

  • Full-contour zirconia: This type is usually reserved for teeth that take a lot of abuse during biting, chewing, and bruxism. Bruxism is the unconscious clenching and/or grinding that a lot of us do in our sleep. It can cause a lot of damage to teeth so a dental restoration needs to be strong enough to endure bruxism.
  • Porcelain-fused-to-zirconia: This is another type of full-contour crown but has an underlying metal base that provides additional support to the structure of the tooth and the zirconia. This combination of materials gives the tooth a great amount of resistance to wear and tear and is still aesthetically pleasing.
  • Full-contour translucent zirconia: For teeth that are not subject to a great amount of force from biting or grinding, this type of zirconia crown may be appropriate. They are often used on the anterior teeth due to their high quality aesthetics.

One of the biggest advantages of zirconia is its strength and durability. When a tooth in the back of your mouth needs a crown, it is important that the material is very strong because our posterior teeth exert a lot of force to chew food. The strength of zirconia material is such that your dentist will not have to prepare as much of your tooth as they may need to with other materials. Zirconia also has great biocompatibility and is less likely to cause a reaction from the patient's body or immune system.

If you need a dental crown to restore one or more teeth, speak to your dentist to determine what type of material is best for your individual case.

Advantages of Zirconia Crowns?