In our practice, we strive for two goals when providing your treatment:

  • Provide the most conservative options to get the job done
  • Provide services that have a track record for longevity

It is too much information to go over ever every dental material in this simple blog, but to answer the questions we’ve received about one particular material, specifically Zirconia, is something I hope to do here.

Once teeth have had multiple fillings, large fillings or the tooth has broken, a decision has to made about how to protect what is left of the tooth. There are many variables which contribute to that decision process. For now, let’s only talk about molars and full crowns. Those of you who have known me know that I do not like crowns as an option for your teeth. Unfortunately, there are times we cannot use bonded fillings or what are known as inlays and partial crowns to save your teeth. If a molar needs a full crown, there are really three options, which include some kind of porcelain material, gold or zirconia.  

Molars take a beating and are the workhorse of our chewing system.  To “fix” them after they have been damaged to the point that they require a crown can be risky. I personally feel nothing looks more natural than a porcelain crown if all the right variables are available to make that option worthy of your investment.  Not every patient can sustain true porcelain crowns on their molars, but some people can.  For those we know to have “heavy bites” or who grind their teeth or just have short teeth with little room to put anything on them, we immediately get nervous about porcelain crowns. After all, this is a crown made out of glass. Everything has to be just right to make that work.

When the conditions aren’t perfect, we think of using materials that don’t break. This is where Gold or Zirconia crowns come in. Both of these materials resist fracture which is most important for some people on their molars. Nobody wants to pay for fixing a tooth twice! We are finding well-made Zirconia crowns to fit just as well as our gold crowns. The one thing that is different from gold is that they are “tooth colored.” They look like teeth but they are not transparent like some of the porcelain crown materials. However, when they are on your very back teeth, this is of little concern. For those who want all the durability of gold but want their teeth to look like teeth when they are laughing or talking in public, the Zirconia crowns are a super substitute for gold. As an added benefit of Zirconia, the material used is less expensive than gold allowing you to keep a few more of your dollars where they belong….in your wallet!