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Zirconia Crown: Advantages and Disadvantages of Zirconia Crown

A dental crown is a restoration that covers a tooth that has become compromised. A tooth that has fractured, cracked or broken will benefit from a dental crown. Dentist may use zirconia dental crowns as they are the strongest restoration material available. Zirconia crowns can last for years and even decades with proper care and routine dental checkups.

Why are Dental Crowns needed?

Why are Dental Crowns needed

Before a crown is placed, dentists will perform an exam to determine if it is needed. Crowns can be placed on adult teeth that have been compromised in some way. The most common reasons for needing a zirconia crown include:

  • A tooth has broken, cracked, fractured or chipped
    • A tooth has a large filling
    • You’ve recently had a root canal
    • A dental implant was placed and has healed

What makes you a good candidate for Dental Crowns?

The dental crown procedure is done in under an hour in office. It is done under local anesthetic, so no sedation is needed unless otherwise requested. Most patients who need a crown can benefit from the new restoration. The crown not only improves the look of your smile, but it helps in improving overall functioning of the teeth.

What is Zirconia Made of?

Zirconia restorations are made from Zirconia dioxide, a metal oxide. The incredible strength of monolithic Zirconia used for dental restorations comes from its tetragonal crystalline properties. The all-ceramic material doesn’t require any unsightly metal substructure for stability, is resistant to wear, and difficult to crack.

Special Features of Zirconia

Zirconia crowns were first introduced to dentistry in 2010. Before being milled into crowns, Zirconia was used in dentistry for endodontic posts and dental implants. The bulk material is provided to the dental laboratory in the form of pressed solid blocks. These blocks are then milled into a 3-dimensional crown or framework using CAD/CAM production, assuring a void-free, precise-fitting restoration every time.

There are no metals involved in the process, which allows for aesthetically pleasing crown margins with no visible dark lines or shadows.

Restorative Uses of Zirconia

Zirconia has a variety of restorative uses including full crown coverage, multi-unit bridges, frameworks for porcelain-fused-to-Zirconia crowns and bridges, and even veneers.

Types of Zirconia Crowns

dentists offer three distinct types of Zirconia crowns: full contour Zirconia, full contour all-translucent Zirconia, and Porcelain-fused-to-Zirconia.



Full-contour zirconia is known for its superior strength and is best suited for patients with a heavy bite, bruxism, or even heavy canine guidance.



A full-contour translucent zirconia crown is more suited for areas that need to be visually pleasing yet are subjected to far less biting and grinding forces.



Porcelain fused-to-zirconia (PFZ) involves fabricating a full-contour zirconia crown. A window on the face of the crown is cut out so as not to compromise the strength of the zirconia. Then, an overlay of translucent porcelains are layered and baked on. External stains are applied for characterization with incredible results! PFZ is the ultimate combination of both resistance to wear and aesthetics.

Zirconia dental crown benefits

Zirconia dental crown benefits

Crowns made of zirconia are becoming increasingly common, and they do offer some advantages.


One of the biggest advantages of zirconia is its strength and durability. Consider how much force your back teeth exert on the food that you chew.

Your crowns need to be made of a strong material, so zirconia may be a good choice for crowns in the back of your mouth. Also, because zirconia is so strong, a dentist won’t have to do as much preparation of your tooth.


Zirconia-based crowns fared just as well over the course of 5 years as metal-based crowns. And crowns made of zirconia, called monolithic zirconia crowns, are especially durable.


Zirconia is the choice of many dentists for its biocompatibility, which means it’s less likely to provoke the body into producing a reaction or immunological response like inflammation. A study confirms this, and it also found only a limited amount of cytotoxicity.

Same-day procedure

Many dentists can make zirconia crowns in their offices rather than sending an impression of your tooth to a lab to have a crown made. Then, they can cement the crown into your mouth in a single visit.

The CEREC, or Chairside Economical Restoration of Esthetic Ceramics, process uses computer-aided design/computer-aided manufacturing (CAD/CAM) technology to speed up this process. The dentist uses a dental milling machine to actually make the crown from a block of zirconia.

This process eliminates the need to stretch the procedure into two visits. However, not every dentist office has this technology in-house or offers zirconia crowns.

Zirconium Crown vs other types of dental crowns

Zirconium Crown vs other types of dental crowns

VS Emax (Lithium Disilicate)

vs Porcelain Crowns

Zirconia crown unlike Emax (Lithium Disilicate) dental crowns is sturdier, stronger and are more durable. When we process zirconia, its surface is highly polished which makes it very smooth. Also, zirconia maintains its anatomical shape. Emax (Lithium Disilicate) is a material with lesser solidness which is why it is designed for maximum aesthetics and beauty of front teeth.

Because zircon as a material is extremely strong, it can be thin, which means that a dentist can be more conservative in preparation which will save more patient’s natural teeth.

Emax (Lithium Disilicate) is a material which has to be carved and attached in place, while zircon can be conventionally cemented which makes a process significantly easier.

One of the disadvantages of zircon as a material is that it not at all translucent. Emax (Lithium Disilicate) is much more translucent material, and it makes teeth very natural.

VS Ceramic Crowns

Zirconia crown is different from the ceramic crown in its solidness; zirconia is much more substantial material. Even though this is a benefit of zirconia crowns in most cases, sometimes it can be a disadvantage when we make dental bridges between certain teeth, and we need a material with more elasticity.

Chipping of the ceramics cannot occur with monolithic zirconia crowns because there is no ceramics that can chip.

VS Porcelain Crowns

  • Zirconia crown is a better choice than other materials because of its numerous advantages.
  • Unlike zirconia crown, a porcelain crown is not as strong, durable and long-lasting.
  • Also, when we talk about aesthetics, the zirconia crown is a much better aesthetical solution because it gives teeth natural colour and natural appearance.

VS Porcelain Fused to Metal Crowns

Zirconia and titanium are the only two materials that the body doesn’t recognize as a foreign material which makes biological tolerance of zirconia much better; on the other hand, zirconia is aesthetically more acceptable.



There are two main types of procedures for installing a dental crown. Your dentist can prepare your tooth and install a temporary crown during one visit and then cement the permanent crown into your mouth during the second visit.

Or, you can have a same-day procedure if your dentist has the appropriate technology and equipment to create a zirconia crown in-office.

Tooth Preparation Guidelines for Zirconia Crowns

Zirconia crowns require a mechanically-retentive tooth preparation similar to that used for porcelain fused-to-metal crowns. Sharp angles and edges must be rounded and shoulders should be chamfered. Gingival margins are a minimum of 0.6 mm in depth. Axial walls have a minimum of 1.0 mm depth with an anatomical occlusal reduction of 1.5 mm. If this seems aggressive, it is compared to the preparation guidelines for other types of all-ceramic dental restorations (i.e. e-Max).

Color Choices

Zirconia dental lab offers multiple color options that correspond to the Vita Classic Shade Guide plus bleaching shades are available. Custom staining allows the finished Zirconia restoration to blend seamlessly with existing restorations and natural teeth.

Delivery and Cementation

Minor adjustments may be made at chairside using a combination of green stones or diamond burs. Cementation is achieved via mechanical retention using a glass ionomer resin dental cement.

How Long Do Zirconia Crowns Last?

The average lifespan of Zirconia crowns is currently unknown. Zirconia crowns are relatively new to dentistry as compared to other types of crowns. Therefore, longevity studies are currently unavailable. The average lifespan is estimated to be approximately 20 years. Of course, how long any dental restoration lasts in vivo depends heavily upon the home care and habits of the individual patient.

Are Zirconia Crowns Safe?

All-ceramic Zirconia dioxide has been used extensively in the field of medical prosthetics, such as joint replacements, since the 1960’s. In the 1990’s, Zirconia was introduced to dentistry in the form of endodontic posts and dental implants. Milled Zirconia crowns became commercially available in 2010. Zirconia has a long history of use in the human body. Its strength and biocompatibility make it the ideal, safe choice for a restorative dental material. Many patients are concerned about the use of metals in dental restorations and how they may lead to adverse health effects. With Zirconia, this concern is alleviated because the material is chemically unreactive.

Disadvantages of a Zirconia Crown

It must be highlighted that dental specialist in the field of prosthodontics are trained and qualified to make individual assessment of each patient and customize treatment plan using zirconia based prosthetics that can cater your functional and aesthetic demands. comprehensive diagnostic assessment by Prosthodontist must be done. Like many other dental procedures, there can be potential disadvantages to getting a zirconia crown.

Can be hard to match

One potential disadvantage of a zirconia crown is its opaque appearance, which can make it look less than natural. This is especially true for monolithic zirconia crowns, which are made just from zirconia, although it may be less of an issue for teeth in the back of your mouth.

Potential wear on other teeth

Some dentists have been hesitant to use zirconia crowns in some circumstances for fear that the hardness of the zirconia could cause wear and tear on opposing teeth.

While that may be a concern, a study found that feldspathic porcelain was much more likely than zirconia ceramic to cause wear on the enamel of opposing teeth.

Zirconia crown cost 

In general, dental crowns in general can be very pricey. Zirconia crowns typically cost more than other types of dental crowns, such as ceramic, metal, and porcelain. Your geographic location can also affect the cost.


Can root canal issues be treated if I have a Zirconia crown?

Root canal issues can be treated if a patient has a Zirconia crown.

Do I have to wear temporary crowns during the entire procedure?

The patient receives temporary crowns between two dentist appointments so that the shaped part of the tooth is protected and the patient’s appearance isn’t ruined during the therapy.

Are Zirconia crowns stronger than porcelain crowns?

Zirconia crowns are the strongest dental crowns and are incredibly durable.

What are monolithic zirconia crowns?

Zirconia crowns that don’t have ceramics on them, but are made from one piece of zircon.

We are dedicated to providing comprehensive oral health treatment to all our patients. Our team, led by Dr. Tafreshi, believes that a solid doctor-patient relationship is built on mutual trust and respect. We work closely with each patient to establish a lifelong partnership and provide personalized treatment plans. We want you to feel empowered in making decisions about your oral health. Don't let dental care be a luxury out of reach; we believe a beautiful smile is easily achievable for everyone. Schedule an appointment today, and let us help you achieve your dental goals.

15 Mareblu Suite #360, Aliso Viejo, CA 92656