A Conservative Zirconia Porcelain Crown is similar to any dental crown – but much more conservative. It is incredibly thin yet incredibly strong. Why does this matter? Traditional crowns require a lot of thickness to be strong…and this requires a lot of grinding down of tooth structure. And the more tooth that is ground away, the harder it is on the living dental pulp of the tooth. Our goal with any treatment is to preserve and protect the integrity of the living dental pulp. Since zirconia requires less thickness to be strong it requires less grinding of the tooth.
Zirconia is also very biocompatible. There is no metal. The sensitive gum tissues stay nice and healthy around zirconia.
Beware of “Same Day” Zirconia crowns.
Many dentists have milling machines and software which allows them to digitally scan and mill a crown in one visit. The problem is that for zirconia to have its incredible strength, it must be “sintered” in a porcelain oven overnight. So this requires it to be fabricated by a dental laboratory. While same day crowns are convenient, you are giving up one of the major advantages of zirconia – its strength. The overcome this, the dentist may make the crown thicker, which requires more tooth structure to be ground away.
Another advantage is that the zirconia crown can be designed like a conservative zirconia porcelain onlay in certain cases. We like doing onlays whenever possible because they are even kinder to the living pulp. But sometimes the tooth needs so much help that a crown is the only answer. Traditional crowns usually go to the gum level…and even below all the way around the tooth. This may not always be necessary so zirconia allows us to avoid this, and it still be strong and look beautiful and natural.
Here is a picture of a conservative zirconia porcelain crown…very thin yet incredibly strong.