Traditionally, esthetic prosthodontic crowns were comprised of porcelain fused to metal. This solid combination is still used by many dental professionals as a simple, cost effective option. More recently however, the introduction of Zirconia crowns (Made from Oxides of Zirconium) have changed the aesthetic appearance of many smiles. Zirconia crowns function in exactly the same way as traditional crowns, but their fully ceramic composition means that the restoration looks far more natural.
Dental crowns are usually placed to strengthen an injured tooth. All dental professionals agree that when possible, it is advantageous to restore a natural tooth rather than replace it with a prosthetic alternative. Zirconia crowns are precision-engineered by Computer Aided Design and Computer Aided Manufacturing (CAD-CAM) to create a beautiful fit and restore full functionality to the injured tooth.
Why might a Zirconia crown be necessary?
Unlike the majority of the rest of the body, the teeth do not have extensive healing capabilities. Therefore, once the enamel (or surface) of the tooth is injured in some manner, it does not have the ability to heal itself. Dental crowns are placed to stabilize damaged teeth and permanently prevent the propagation of further damage. Enamel may be injured by trauma, bacterial infections or decay. Crowns are often used to seal teeth after root canal therapy.
Zirconia crowns have many advantages over the porcelain-fused-to-metal (PFM) alternative, including:
Exact color matching – Zirconia crowns can be created in a color that will perfectly match the color of existing teeth. This means the restoration is invisible to onlookers.
No metal base – The partially ceramic traditional crowns do look somewhat natural on top, but an unsightly metal band may exist near the base of the tooth. Zirconia crowns completely eliminate the metal aspect.
Biocompatibility – Zirconia crowns have been engineered to encourage the gums to grow back around them. This means that eventually, full gum symmetry and stability is achieved.
Custom fitting – Highly skilled technicians create custom Zirconia crowns to ensure that a perfect fit is achieved.
What is involved in getting a Zirconia crown?
Placing a crown is a common and straightforward procedure that dental professionals perform on a regular basis. X-rays and impressions are taken and a thorough examination is conducted prior to treatment. It is important for the dental professionals to assess the health of adjacent teeth and gums, to ensure that there are no underlying issues.
A local anesthetic may be administered while the tooth is being shaped. The shaping is necessary to ensure that the crown will fit snugly on the tooth. This process is done precisely and carefully to ensure that the soft tissue around the tooth is not damaged. When the tooth is fully prepared, the dental professional creates an accurate mold of the tooth and chooses the porcelain color. A temporary crown is placed while the custom Zirconia crown is being created at the laboratory.
At the next appointment, the temporary crown is removed. The inner tooth is thoroughly cleansed to ensure that any bacteria are eliminated. The permanent Zirconia crown is affixed to the tooth using luting cement, and a beautiful smile is created.
If you have questions or concerns about Zirconia crowns, please contact our office.