Titanium and titanium alloys used to be the most common materials used for fabrication for dental implants. Despite their decades of popularity as the gold standard in oral implantology, the search for alternatives has been growing. Because of increasing titanium allergies and esthetic compromises with titanium implants, the use of zirconia has been introduced as an alternative to titanium. Following several experimental studies, zirconium dioxide (zirconia) has earned its place as a viable substitute for titanium in implantology.
Since its emergence into the dental arena, Zirconia has increasingly become the material of choice for clinicians who wish to provide their patients with the most technologically advanced metal-free restorations. Zirconia has improved significantly with the introduction of a wider array of available milling pucks which allow for greater shade variation and translucencies that closely resemble natural dentition.
Clinicians who wish to provide patients with excellent dental restorations often choose zirconia crowns. These crowns are chosen over conventional PFMs (Porcelain Fused to Metal) or full-gold crowns due to their superior strength, durability, and excellent aesthetics. Some dentists exclusively use zirconia over all-ceramic restorations, particularly when restoring a single tooth.
Today’s patients are requesting zirconia and porcelain crowns over metal-based crowns because both zirconia and porcelain restorations provide strength and lifelike esthetics. Since the introduction of milled zirconia restorations, patients have been increasingly requesting zirconia as an alternative to porcelain-fused-to-metal (PFM) restorations.
Today’s patients are requesting zirconia and porcelain crowns over metal-based crowns because both zirconia and porcelain restorations provide strength and lifelike esthetics. Since the introduction of milled zirconia restorations, patients have been increasingly requesting zirconia as an alternative to porcelain-fused-to-metal (PFM) restorations. Many myths exist surrounding the use of zirconia in dental restorations. This article debunks the myths concerning zirconia to ensure that dentists and technicians understand the differences between the materials available for restorations.
The number of Zirconia crowns fabricated annually now exceeds PFM crowns. With this trend likely to continue, it is crucial to know how best to place zirconia crowns. Often, the fit and appearance of a crown can be enhanced by making a few simple changes.
Initially, porcelain fused to metal (PFMs) restorations were the clinician’s standard choice of material, because they offered reliable treatment outcomes for the patient.
However, the opaque porcelain used to mask the metal substructure, particularly in the cervical third, frequently causes a light gray appearance at the cervical margin. The effect can worsen after a few years if gingival recession occurs. Now, the demand for increased aesthetics and more cosmetically pleasing restorations has risen exponentially, corresponding with a significant fall in demand for PFMs. PFMs have been replaced with more clinically and aesthetically acceptable all-ceramic restorations, the most popular of which is zirconia.
Increasingly, patients are demanding dental restorations that provide excellent aesthetics and functionality. Most ceramic restorations can meet these needs, and there are many different types on the market. Achieving a successful restoration depends on the clinician’s ability to select the appropriate material and follow the right preparation and cementation protocols. Selection should be based on the ceramic’s physical properties, which include fracture resistance, strength, wear resistance, and long-term durability. One of the most popular materials is zirconia. Modern zirconia is very different from its original bone-white incarnation.
The name zirconium is derived from the Arabic word “Zargun,” or golden in color, which is further derived from the Persian words “zar” for gold and “gun” for color. Zirconium is a naturally occurring element with an atomic number of 40 and is a transitional metal found in nature as the mineral Zircon. It is purified to Zirconium, a silver-colored metal that is corrosion-resistant and has properties like titanium. When combined with oxygen, it forms zirconia, a strong and highly biocompatible ceramic. Zirconium was initially discovered in the 18th century.
The introduction of stronger and more durable ceramics over the past few years has greatly increased the clinician’s choice of materials when fabricating an all-ceramic three unit bridge. The latest generation of zirconia is suitable for three unit bridges and can restore teeth anywhere in the mouth, and IPS e.max is suitable for anterior teeth.