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.