There are many buzz words and hype terms used online for marketing purposes, which makes it difficult to know when something you read on the internet makes sense and is worth the hype. Zirconium is one of these things. Not everyone is sure what it is, why it’s good, but most people know that dental crowns are made of it, and that it is more expensive than the “old” sort of crowns. In this article I wish to speak a little about zirconium; what it is, how it is used and what the benefits of it are.
A curious mineral
Zirconium is first and foremost a mineral, and one that is found in very small quantities. It is used to make the inner structures of crowns, among many other applications. The difference between this and other traditional metal based crowns is very simple. As traditional crown will have a metal wire base that the tooth coloured porcelain outer shells are adhered to. This metallic inner structure shows up as black lines on the surface of the crown if the mouth is exposed to any kind of light at all. With zirconium, this is not the case.
A zirconium internal structure will not show up as anything, as it plays with the light in the same way that regular teeth do, and this material lets the light through, so the crown is indistinguishable from real, living teeth. The material is just as durable as metal, and roughly the same shelf life can be expected of zirconium crowns.
Zirconium is a so-called bio-ceramic, means it is very well received by the body, is not rejected, it is bio-compatible and hypoallergenic. Zirconium is also a material that is very easy to shade, so it can be matched exactly to the tone of your teeth, providing an incredibly lifelike dental prosthesis that really is quite indistinguishable from your real, living teeth.
The price difference
Zirconium crowns cost more than regular crowns, because the material is rarer, and the techniques that are used to make the zirconium crown are somewhat newer and require specialization. The result is well worth the difference though. We recommend getting zirconium crowns for teeth that are in the smile zone, meaning ones that become visible when you smile, while getting regular metal based crowns on your back teeth should work well enough.