The History Of Zirconia Dental Crowns

Dental Crowns are a marvel of Dental Sciences that have made many things possible today. Not only do they enable dental practitioners to provide a multiverse of options for patients with dental issues, it also provides an opportunity for patients to help feature a beautiful smile with perfect dental health. Dental Sciences has seen a lot of advancements in the last 50 to 60 years with so many dental materials that have come up which allows both dental health practitioners and patients to have plenty of choices when it comes to finding a perfect alternative for their teeth that have suffered any damages.

Today, the market for dental materials is flooded with options ranging from the traditional Stainless steel and metallic crowns to the modern and more esthetically pleasing Zirconia Crowns. The history of how these crowns came into being and the introduction of one crown trumping the other in features and benefits is one of the most interesting in dental sciences. Each type of dental crown has its own advantage and disadvantage based on the preference and specific requirement of each patient. This also depends on the various factors such as cost, physical attributes, the procedure the patient has gone through, the requirements of the dental condition and the preference of the dental practitioner as well. All of these factors are important when it comes to choosing one of the many dental crown materials that is present today in the market.

Today, the Zirconia dental crown is one of the top rated types of crowns and dental crown material that is used by most dentitioners worldwide. But there is a large chunk of history before this crown came into being. It is one of the many benefits of exploring the various dental technologies and crown materials by dental and scientific researchers that led to the discovery of Zirconia and the dentally applicable Ytterium stabilised Zirconia Dioxide. To understand the applications and benefits of Zirconia Dental Crowns in the Dental Sciences today, one must understand the challenges that are faced by the dental practitioners in the usage of the other dental materials which led to the invention of Zirconia Crown Tooth style

What is Zirconia Tooth Crown?

Zirconia Ceramic Crown is a version of All Ceramic Crown that has similar properties to ceramic crowns and is developed from Zircon, a metal that is found naturally on the crust of earth in a powdery state. Zircon roughly translates to gold coloured powder which is how it originally looks but after it is extracted from its natural form, Zirconium looks like silvery powder. Zirconium was found to be extremely stable and its strength was pretty much similar to Titanium which is known to be one of the sturdiest metals on earth. Having the strength and corrosion resistance properties such as Zirconium and being extremely biocompatible made it one of the best choices to be used in dental sciences which is an application that was not popularised until the early 2000’s.

Zirconium metal as such is not usable for dentistry and has to be reacted with oxygen in special conditions to give rise to Zirconium Oxide which is then made into slabs and is used to make dental products such as Dental Crowns, Implants, Bridges etc. Veneers made out of Zirconium oxide is

extremely popular in dental science and are used by most dental practitioners for their patients. The characteristic features of Zirconium Oxide that is used for dental products is mentioned below:

  • 1. Strength

The characteristic feature that makes Zirconia Tooth Crowns so popular is its undeniable strength. The strength and sturdity of Zirconia crowns make it one of the most popular options besides metal crowns. Zirconia crowns are very strong and sturdy and therefore also have high durability when used for dental restorations for patients.  This is by far the strongest dental crown that is available today and is preferred for both posterior and anterior restorations thanks to its esthetic appeal

  • 2. Durability

Durability is a factor that goes hand in hand with the strength of a material.Zirconia dental crowns are known for their durable nature as they are pretty strong in nature and can withstand pressures such as bite force and bruxism in patients without giving up. Average lifespan of zirconia crowns is 10 years but with good maintenance they can last as long as 15 years.

  • 3. Esthetics

Zirconia crowns are excellent when it comes to esthetics as they have an opaque colour that is milky and off white in nature. Esthetics of Zirconia crowns is unmatched and only besides ceramic crowns as they have a white appearance just like teeth. They are a great choice for those who are looking for anterior restorations that have a good esthetic appeal.

  • 4. Biocompatibility

Zirconium in itself is a very stable element and Zirconium Oxide is very biocompatible which means that they are suitable for use in the human body as replacement in bones and teeth. Zirconium is also known for its usage in bone and joint replacements and is excellent for use as Zirconium Crown tooth in patients with dental products.

  • 5. Cost and Budget

Zirconia crowns cost a bit more than regular metal and alloy crowns. Zirconia Crown price ranges from a few hundred dollars for each tooth on average but when compared to costlier options such as All Ceramic Crowns which do not have the strength, durability or biocompatibility of Zirconia Crowns. Cost of Zirconia crown is becoming more economical day by day thanks to scientific and technological developments that are making things more accessible.

History of Zirconia Ceramic Crowns

Zirconia Crowns were popularised only in 2000’s. Up until then the most popular crowns were Metal crowns followed by Porcelain Fused to Metal Crowns, Glass Ceramic Crowns and Ceramic Restorations.

Metal Crowns such as Stainless Steel crowns were introduced in the 1950’s and were popularised initially as a strong yet cost effective option that can be used for posterior restorations in adults and children. In fact it was more popular amongst children than adults and has become one of the primary dental crowns for young children these days who have issues with the primary teeth. Other metal crowns such as Gold, Silver, Titanium etc were also introduced around this time for those who wanted to increase the strength and durability of their dental crown without the fear of cost and budget. Infact gold and titanium crowns became something of a trend or accessory in that period.

This was soon taken over by the invention of Porcelain fused to Metal Crowns which came in the 1960s. These crowns were made with a metal base and had a porcelain veneer around them which gave them the advantage of both strength of the metal core and the esthetics of the porcelain veneer on top. These crowns were more expensive than metal crowns but cost less than all ceramic crowns or zirconia crown costs. The only disadvantage to these crowns was the grey appearance near the gum line which was due to the metal core which was obvious when it came to anterior restorations. It was also quite difficult to make these crowns, adjust these crowns and they had less strength and sturdity when compared to stainless steel and all ceramic crowns due to the difference in the two combining materials. Although they provided a much better esthetic appeal than metal based restorations, especially in posterior restorations, they were still less strong and prone to chipping and fractures. Another issue with PFM crowns was that their durability is less when compared to metal and ceramic crowns because of the strength and therefore needed replacements quite often. The chair side adjustment time was also higher in PFM based crown restorations.

This led to the introduction of glass based crowns in the 1980s. Researchers were able to combine the strength of glass fibres to make resin crowns which were better when it came to strength, durability and esthetics than PFM crowns. They also were able to develop a cross between glass and ceramic based compounds to make glass ceramic restorations with glass fibres in the core and with a ceramic veneer which provided a much more natural appeal while keeping the base strong. Glass Ceramic crowns were very successful but had some disadvantages such as high chair side restoration and adjustment time and longer time taken to prepare the crowns. The ceramic veneer, although esthetically pleasing, still had some minor chipping and fracture issues but were overall successfully used in anterior restorations where the risks of these issues were lesser. This was a major leap towards esthetically pleasing crown materials and paced the path for All Ceramic and Zirconia Based crowns.

Zirconia or Zirconia Oxide was stabilised by reacting it with Yttrium giving rise to Zirconium slabs or blocks which was used to mould zirconia crowns for patients. Around the late 1990s and early 2000s, the CAD and CAM technology was able to perfect the zirconia moulding techniques and helped dental labs to recreate exact measurements for their patients reducing not only the chair side adjustment time but also the overall restoration time for patients. Zirconia crowns were extremely popular in the 21st century ever since they were introduced in the market thanks to its stellar features such as Biocompatibility, perfect esthetics and undoubted strength and durability. Today Zirconia crowns are one of the most preferred types of dental crowns in the market and are recommended by most dentists around the world.