For many years, porcelain crowns and bridges were made of feldspathic porcelain because it was the only material that closely resembled natural teeth. New materials have recently become available, not only for use in dentistry, but for a variety of applications in aerospace and other highly technical fields. One of them has so much tensile strength it carries the nickname ceramic steel. This is the material that is now used to make zirconia crowns and bridges.
As you can see in the photo to the left, zirconia is a beautiful material from which to make crowns. Its incredible strength means that its edges can be as thin as or thinner than natural teeth. This allows the transmission of light that gives real teeth their characteristic translucency.
The material’s strength means that zirconia crowns and bridges don’t need to be fused to a metal base to withstand the full pressures of chewing. As a result, they never develop a dark gumline, and they can be thin enough to draw color from the structure of the tooth. The photos to the right show the same patient before and after restoration with zirconia crowns.
Additionally, zirconia is a highly biocompatible material, so its use virtually eliminates the risk of allergic reactions. In fact, hip replacements contain very similar materials. And finally, zirconia offers a precise fit where it meets the underlying tooth structure because it can be milled so thin.
The same qualities that make zirconia ideal for creating crowns, make it even better for bridges. When you are missing a tooth, one of the options for restoration is a bridge that suspends a prosthetic tooth between two crowns. The strength of zirconia allows this structure to withstand chewing pressures near the back of the mouth.
Dental schools do not teach the bonding techniques required to correctly place zirconia crowns and bridges. So not all dentists will be able to either recommend or provide the choice of zirconia crowns and bridges. Dr. Price has pursued the requisite training and has achieved the skills needed to provide beautiful zirconia crowns and bridges.
If you would like to learn more about your treatment options, call us for an appointment.