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Dental Crowns: What You Need to Know About Zirconia

August 31, 2020

What is a dental crown?

A dental crown is a tooth-shaped “cap” that is placed over a tooth to cover the tooth to restore its shape, size, strength and improve its appearance. To make a crown, dentists begin by molding a patient’s tooth. The model is then sent to a dental technician for preparation. Dentists and their patients must agree on the crown’s base material before production.

Ceramic and metal are two commonly used materials for dental crowns. However, zirconia is increasingly becoming a preferred option in producing dental crowns.

What is zirconia?

Zirconium dioxide—known as zirconia (ZR) in the dental field—is a very durable type of metal related to titanium. Its most naturally occurring form is baddeleyite, with a monoclinic crystalline structure.

One specific type of zirconia prized in the dental clinic is yttria-stabilized zirconia (YTZP). This type is a purely tetragonal phase, fine-grain material, and it offers the highest flexural strength of all zirconia-based materials. YTZP exhibits a trait called transformation toughening, which prevents cracks. .

The newest generation in zirconia utilized by dentists is called cubic ZR. This new ZR has cubic zirconia added to it, and is more translucent than regular zirconia.

What are the main benefits of zirconia over other materials?

Zirconia is stronger compared to other types of materials used for dental crowns. First-generation ZR comes in at 100 to 1500 Megapascal (MPa), and the new cubic hybrid zirconia comes in at 700 to 100 MPa. Compared to materials like glass-ceramics (50 MPa to 380 MPa), zirconia is way ahead of the competition. With enhanced technology and research, new classes of zirconia are being ushered in with high strength and high translucency.

Additionally, zirconia has less wall thickness when made into a dental crown. It is the better choice when the process limits the dentists’ room for reduction on the crown itself. Another benefit of zirconia is its indications. Glass ceramics are only indicated for up to a 3-unit bridge, while zirconia can produce a full arch restoration.

Low-cost and premium zirconia powder

Dental crowns made from zirconia come from powder-based material. There are two types categorized according to their manufacturing processes:

  • Low-cost powder makes use of less-refined powders. They are sourced directly from powder manufacturers and are marketed as a cost-effective option.
  • Premium powder is manufactured in-house and undergoes a closely monitored process. This results in a more controlled and refined product used in making dental crowns.

Free product consultation

Zirconia is rapidly becoming a choice material for dental crowns. Compared to ceramic and metal, zirconia has proven to be stronger and the more aesthetically-pleasing option.

Benco Dental and its representatives are available for consultation for dental crowns.


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