Zirconium dioxide, or ZrO2, is often called zirconia but is important to distinguish from zircon. The substance is a crystalline oxide of zirconium, which is usually bright white in color, and is often called “ceramic steel.” It’s an extremely strong substance One of the most common forms of zirconium dioxide is dopant stabilized cubic structured zirconia, or better known as cubic zirconia, or simulated diamonds. In dentistry, zirconium dioxide is used widely by dental professionals as a ceramic oxide. The substance can be used in a variety of applications, including dental crowns, bridges, implants, and inserts, and has been shown to have an excellent safety profile and biocompatibility. Zirconium dioxide nanoparticles are also not harmful to other living organisms, including bacteria, making it a great choice for bone implants as well. Other popular ceramic systems among dental professionals include silica, alumina, leucite, and lithium disilicate.
Zirconia is a newer material used for dental crowns. In the past, dental crowns were made of metals like silver or gold, resin, and porcelain. Zirconia is stronger than porcelain but just as natural looking. Zirconia teeth are nearly indistinguishable from your own teeth and are similar in size, shape, and color. Because it doesn’t require as much preparation to the natural tooth, the price of zirconia is affordable compared to other dental crown materials. When comparing a zirconia crown vs. porcelain crown, there are numerous benefits that zirconia crowns have over porcelain. Zirconia crowns can be milled in the dental office and put in during the same visit, whereas porcelain crowns are typically made in a lab outside the dental office. Zirconia crowns can be cemented or bonded and are biocompatible. Because of these benefits, zirconia crowns are growing in popularity for both crowning natural teeth and dental implants.
A zirconia abutment offers an esthetic alternative to metal implant abutments. Due to the white color of zirconia, abutments made of this material are often not as noticeable. Zirconia abutments can be custom milled or ordered as stock abutments from a specific manufacturer. They are available in a variety of configurations with or without pre-machined margins. The aesthetics of zirconia is often a selling point with patients that have thin gum tissue as there is no gray metal to show through along the gum line. While a zirconia implant is very strong, titanium is known to be even stronger with a higher elasticity which helps resist micro-fractures. The zirconia abutment price is also higher than that of a titanium abutment due to the nature of zirconia. When considering the zirconia abutment vs. the titanium abutment, these are just a few of the factors to research.
Zirconium is a steel-gray, hard ductile metallic element with a high melting point that occurs widely in combined forms. It is highly resistant to corrosion and is used especially in alloys and in refractories and ceramics. Zirconium can be altered to create a material known as zirconia. This is a white ceramic substance which can be used as dental crown material, dental fillings, or to make zirconia implants. Zirconia crowns are often less expensive than porcelain crowns, however, zirconia crowns disadvantages also need to be considered. These include:
- Abrasive- zirconia crowns can have an abrasive effect on the teeth around them as well as on the roots of the teeth which they crown.
- Decay- it is possible for decay to form beneath a zirconia crown but it is difficult to detect. In fact, the only way to positively identify decay is to remove the crown itself.