Zirconia crowns: amazingly durable

diamond NIn Don Quixote, Cervantes claims that “A tooth is more to be prized than a diamond.” If he was writing today, he might add: But when you need a crown on a tooth, consider zirconia.

When it comes to jewelry, cubic zirconia is a durable – and beautiful – substitute for diamonds.

When it comes to creating a crown for your tooth, zirconia is a durable – and beautiful – substitute for just about any other dental material. It’s what we use now for the vast majority of crowns for our patients.

A dental crown is essentially a covering useful for protecting a weak or damaged tooth, supporting a large filling, holding a dental bridge in place or surrounding a dental implant.

No matter what material we use to make a crown, the procedure for installing one is pretty much the same.

First, we reshape the tooth by trimming away part of the tooth structure. We then make a mold with dental putty to guide the construction of the crown, and put on a temporary crown for about 10 days until the permanent one is ready. On the next visit, we place the new crown to make sure it fits, and then cement it to the base tooth structure with dental adhesive.

Crowns can be made out of a variety of materials – from stainless steel to gold. Until recently, most of the crowns we had made in our office were porcelain fused to metal. These are very strong, and the color easily matched the adjacent teeth.

Now, however, almost all of the crowns we have made are zirconia, because they:
• Preserve more of the existing tooth
• Are stronger and more durable
• Fit in place as well or better
• Last longer than most of us will
• Can be made more quickly so the turnaround time is faster

Zirconia crowns also blend in well with the color of other teeth. Dr. Megan made one for Dr. Dave and I’m quite sure you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference. And you can also fuse porcelain onto Zirconia on a front tooth for added cosmetic advantages. (Porcelain reflects the light a little better on front teeth and thus appears more natural.

At your next appointment, visit with the dentists and see if Zirconia crowns might be a good treatment option for you.