What’s the Difference Between Zirconium and Porcelain Crowns?

What’s the Difference Between Zirconium and Porcelain Crowns?

Dental crowns are caps that cover a tooth or a dental implant. Dentists often recommend crowns as a way to support broken, weak, or misshapen teeth.

Dental crowns can also be used to cover up a tooth that’s very worn down or severely discolored. They can also be used in conjunction with bridges to strengthen multiple teeth.

When it comes to the materials that crowns are made of, you have several possible options, including ceramic and metal.

Zirconia dental crown benefits

Crowns made of zirconia are becoming increasingly common, and they do offer some advantages.


One of the biggest advantages of zirconia is its strength and durability. Consider how much force your back teeth exert on the food that you chew.

Your crowns need to be made of a strong material, so zirconia may be a good choice for crowns in the back of your mouth. Also, because zirconia is so strong, a dentist won’t have to do as much preparation of your tooth.


Zirconia-based crowns fared just as well over the course of 5 years as metal-based crowns, according to a 2017 randomized controlled trial published in the Journal of Dentistry. And crowns made of zirconia, called monolithic zirconia crowns, are especially durable.


Zirconia is the choice of many dentists for its biocompatibility, which means it’s less likely to provoke the body into producing a reaction or immunological response like inflammation.

A 2016 in vitro studyTrusted Source confirms this, and it also found only a limited amount of cytotoxicity.

Same-day procedure

Many dentists can make zirconia crowns in their offices rather than sending an impression of your tooth to a lab to have a crown made. Then, they can cement the crown into your mouth in a single visit.

The CEREC, or Chairside Economical Restoration of Esthetic Ceramics, process uses computer-aided design/computer-aided manufacturing (CAD/CAM) technology to speed up this process. The dentist uses a dental milling machine to actually make the crown from a block of zirconia.

This process eliminates the need to stretch the procedure into two visits. However, not every dentist office has this technology in-house or offers zirconia crowns.

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Metal vs porcelain crowns

Metal crowns are typical made from cobalt-chromium, nickel-chromium and other metal-based alloys. Metal crowns have been used in dentistry for a number of years and are renowned for their durability. They are the least likely to wear down over time or become chipped/damaged in contrast to porcelain crowns. Most people choose to have metal crowns at the back of their mouth (posterior teeth) as they are out of sight.

Porcelain crowns, on the other hand, are designed to mimic the natural appearance of your teeth and come in two main forms: all-ceramic or all-porcelain. Both can be used for posterior and front teeth and provide a safe solution for patients who suffer from metal allergies.

Features of Porcelain Crown

Since the late 19th century, porcelain crowns have been an industry essential and are prepared from ceramic that consists of compounds such as mica, silica, and Lucite. Some of the crucial features of porcelain for dental crowns include:

  • Produces the most attractive and natural cosmetic result
  • Usually, needs less tooth preparation
  • Most commonly preferred for front teeth that are prone to less pressure and wear
  • Reduces temperature sensitivity because it’s a poor conductor of heat or cold
  • Requires testing in patients with metal sensitivity

Features of Zirconia Crown

Zirconia crowns initially became extensively used in the 1990s. It contains around 90% zirconium oxide, offering it unique strength and bio-compatibility. Some of the critical features of zirconia crowns include:

  • Resistant to chipping, cracking, and discoloration
  • Safe, biocompatible material and causes no metal-sensitivity in patients
  • Smooth exterior prevents abrasion to adjoining teeth and gum tissue
  • Multicolored, highly translucent
  • Provides the most natural appearance to the tooth

Even though dental crown prices depend on many factors, here is a list of usual porcelain crown prices in various countries:

  • United State: $1,000 – $1,500
  • United Kingdom: £450 – £900
  • Canada: $1,000 – $1,500
  • Australia: $1,100 – $1,800
  • TURKEY: $155 – $230

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