Can Zirconia Crowns Crack?
Just like your natural teeth, you can damage your dental crown. If you clench and grind your teeth in your sleep or you have injured your mouth in an accident, you are already familiar with the experience of what some of the circumstances are that can lead to damage to your natural teeth. Unlike your natural teeth, your dental crowns made from zirconia are actually made from a tetragonal crystalline compound. Zirconia dioxide is a metal oxide and can be classified as a ceramic material. No metals are needed to support zirconia and it is very durable, resulting in a crown that is resistant to cracking.
Dentists have been using zirconia in a number of dental restorations that include full crowns, porcelain fused to zirconia crowns, bridges, veneers, and dental implants. When used strictly in crowns, zirconia can be used in three different types of crowns: full contour zirconia, full contour all translucent zirconia, and porcelain fused to zirconia.
Full contour zirconia crowns are the strongest zirconia crowns and are ideal for canine teeth, people who grind their teeth, and those with a heavy bite.
Full contour all translucent crowns have a better aesthetic than full contour and appear more like natural teeth. These crowns are ideal for areas where the teeth are more visible and are not used as heavily.
Porcelain fused to zirconia (PFZ) starts as a full contour zirconia crown with a small window removed and replaced with porcelain to combine the strength of the zirconia with the ideal aesthetic look of porcelain.
Lifespan of Zirconia Crowns
At this point in research and case studies of zirconia crowns, the average length of time you can expect your crown to last is unknown. As compared to the other materials that dentists use for dental crowns, zirconia is relatively new so the data are limited. Most dentists have seen zirconia crowns last twenty years or more, but that is contingent on the individual. Any dental crown will have an increased chance of staying healthy and intact if the person takes care to not bite down hard or eat sticky foods that could compromise the crown. Also, taking the time to brush, floss, and rinse properly between twice yearly dental appointments will keep the crown as healthy as possible.
Disadvantages of Zirconia Crowns
Depending on the location of the tooth you are repairing or replacing, the zirconia may be difficult to match to the surrounding teeth. If you have a full contour zirconia crown, then the crown will be more opaque than your natural teeth despite being so strong and durable. As the amount of zirconia in the crown decreases, so does the strength of the crown. Because zirconia has a crystalline structure, it can be so strong that it can damage surrounding teeth. The teeth on the opposite side of your bite as the zirconia crown can bear the brunt of the wear from the crown. Your natural teeth may experience chipping or the enamel can wear down leaving the tooth more susceptible to cavities and infections. Finally, dental crowns are not inexpensive and can leave a major impact on your budget. Zirconia crowns can be the most expensive of all the other materials used in dental crowns.