Though Zirconia was introduced over ten years ago, it is still a relatively new material in the dental field. Consequently, there are still many questions on when and how to prescribe zirconia.
There are three basic ways to use zirconia for a crown. The first is layered zirconia. Think of this as a metal alternative pfm, with the coping that is zirconia rather than cast metal. Key to this approach is for us to design the coping with interproximal and occlusal support. The goal is to create a crown that is as strong, reliable and aesthetic as a pfm.
The second approach is a zirconia occluded crown. Just as the name implies, the biting surface is highly polished zirconia and the buccal or facial surface is layered in porcelain. We recommend this design when the occlusal space is limited but the case calls for a high degree of aesthetics. Using this design, we can achieve the esthetics of layered porcelain and the strength of zirconia occlusion.
The third approach is the full or all-zirconia crown. This is a great restoration choice when occlusal space is limited and aesthetics are less critical. All the surfaces of the crown are hand polished zirconia and the shading is limited to single Vita shades. This is a perfect alternative for patients who do not want a full gold crown and works best in the posterior.
It’s important to note that as a milled restoration, zirconia may not be the best material for every case. The milling process leaves an internal space, making zirconia less retentive than a waxed crown. Thanks to milling accuracy, the margins are wonderful but zirconia requires a half millimeter, 360o chamfer prep for strength and durability.
Feel free to give us a call to discuss which crown is best for your patients.