Monolithic Zirconia Crowns in the Anterior Region

When it comes to aesthetics of the face and the natural appearance, a healthy set of sparkling white teeth is a characteristic mark. It is impossible to have great aesthetics without healthy teeth that can lend a big white smile. This is one of the biggest challenges for dentists and dental labs as they try to create better and more aesthetically pleasing dental solutions for the anterior region. The anterior region of the teeth which includes the central incisors, lateral incisors and the canines. Whenever a dental issue plagues the anterior part of the teeth, it is often a major challenge as the dental restoration options for aesthetically pleasing and yet high performing in its own regard is quite difficult to achieve as a combination. This is why there is a never ending chase to find the best restorative option for anterior teeth issues in humans.

What are some of the conditions or indications where an aesthetically pleasing crown for anterior teeth is needed, you may ask. Some of the indications for the same are mentioned below:

  • Grinding

Heavy Grinders are one of the classic patients who often end up having dental reductions in the anterior region due to high wearing of the front teeth. Such patients often need help when it comes to replacing teeth that are no longer able to carry out its functions.

  • Accidental Damage

Some patients may unfortunately lose their anterior teeth in accidents either fully or partially. In some cases they may end up with fractures which require them to replace the teeth with crowns to support the original teeth and revive the teeth’s functionality

  • Discolouration

Some patients experience severe discolouration in the anterior teeth region. This may be due to an internal deficiency, personal or lifestyle habits such as smoking or due to heavy grinding. Such patients may also need complete replacement with healthy alternatives such as an aesthetically pleasing crown for the anterior teeth.

Dental Crowns for Anterior Teeth

Dental crowns are the best solutions for most kinds of dental issues. Dental crown, as the name suggests, sits right on top of the original teeth and helps regain all the functionality of the defected original tooth. It can be easily cemented on top of the original tooth by reducing the tooth surface after removing the fractured or infected part. The dentist and the patient can then choose the right kind of dental crown that not only fits the required functions but also is great for the patients’ requirements such as the cost, appearance and ease of adaptability.

There are many different kinds of dental crowns but not all are suited for anterior teeth region. The requirements of anterior teeth are different from that of the posterior teeth. Since anterior teeth are very visible when a person talks and smiles, aesthetics are of great importance for anterior teeth restorations. The need for extreme load bearing is less when it comes to anterior teeth when compared with posterior teeth. This is why some patients and even dentists are very selective of the kind of dental restoration materials that can be used for anterior teeth as it needs to be aesthetically pleasing.

Below are some of the dental restoration materials that are most suited for anterior teeth restoration:

1. PFM (Porcelain Fused to Metal) Crowns

Porcelain Fused to Metal Crowns were the most preferred crown type until a few decades ago when more modern options became available. Porcelain Fused to metal crowns have a metal core and a porcelain layer on top that gives a combination of metal strength along with a porcelain appearance on top that gives an optimum aesthetic appearance for patients. Porcelain fused to metal crowns are an excellent option as they provide good strength and durability for patients. Porcelain fused to metal crowns are great options for lateral incisors and canines although might not be a great option for patients who do not want the grey, metallic shade that becomes apparent underneath the gums.

Even though the restoration does come with porcelain upper layer that provides an aesthetic appeal, it still does have some potential issues such as chipping and fractures of the porcelain top due to the reduced strength of porcelain which may not be able to tolerate wear and tear as much as the metallic core built within.

2. All Ceramic Crowns

All Ceramic crown is the next best option after PFM crowns as it completely eliminated the need for a metallic core and improved the strength of the core material by including complete ceramic core with better load bearing force, better flexural strength and great aesthetics. All ceramic crowns were much more practical than Porcelain fused to Metal crowns as they offered great benefits when compared to PFM crowns and also were suited for patients who may be allergic to nickel or other metal.

The only issue with ceramic crowns was that given its ceramic structure, it still did not have great durability as it was prone to chipping, fracture and even wear and tear due to excessive grinding in some patients. Another issue was definitely the price point - given the excellent aesthetics, achieving the same came with a cost. The full ceramic restorations were much more expensive than any other types of crowns in the market and not all patients were able to afford these options.

3. Zirconia Crowns

Zirconia crowns are by far the closest that dental practitioners and researchers have come to developing the best option for anterior teeth restoration with the most aesthetic material. Zirconia crowns are made from Zirconium dioxide blocks and can be milled using CAD/CAM designs based on the size and measurement of the patients’ requirements. Zirconia dental crowns are one of the most popular options as they can be used for both posterior and anterior teeth.

Given that zirconia tooth crown is made from zirconia, which can be stained to look very much similar to the natural teeth. Zirconia ceramic crowns are essentially a part of the ceramic crown category but are made from Zirconia which is an earthy element. Zirconia crown tooth fits the bill for most kinds of patient requirements and therefore it is growing to become one of the most popular options.

4. Monolithic Zirconia Crown Restorations for Anterior Teeth

Monolithic Zirconia Crowns are made from a complete single slab of Zirconium dioxide and have significant advantages over other types of restorative materials. Monolithic Zirconia Crowns can be stained to create a natural teeth-like finish. Monolithic Zirconia crowns can be used for anterior teeth restorations as it has many benefits such as:

  • High Flexural strength when compared to other restorative materials
  • Precise dental preparation using high tech dental instruments
  • Minimises the wear on opposing teeth
  • Has great aesthetics when compared to other options
  • Less Chair side time
  • Has less chipping than other models

The monolithic zirconia restorations are more popular today than ever because dental practitioners are able to achieve better teeth-like appearance using natural staining. Researchers were able to make better variations using different combinations of composition and fabrication style.

Monolithic Zirconia crowns cost slightly higher than traditional options. Monolithic zirconia crown price ranges between a few hundreds of dollars and can vary from one dental office to another. The cost of zirconia crown varies depending on the type of composition, the fabrication technique, the glazing technique for the desired effect of natural teeth appearance.

Below are some of the best benefits of using Monolithic Zirconia crowns for anterior region:

1. Aesthetics

Aesthetics is the most profound feature of Monolithic zirconia crowns and can be used for most kinds of anterior restorations. They can be custom matched with the existing teeth and artificial staining can be done to give a natural look and feel. They also are great for posterior restorations as most people look for aesthetics for complete mouth restorations.

2. Strength

Strength is another characteristic feature of zirconia teeth restorations. Zirconia is incredibly strong and is much better than ceramic and other types of restorations. Even though they are strong, the wear on the opposing and adjacent teeth is quite less with proper fabrication and polish. Although this is a new type of restorative material, research on samples suggest that they last successfully for about 10 to 12 years and 15 years with proper maintenance and oral care.

3. Biocompatibility

Biocompatibility is one of the most important things that most patients care about. Many patients who want to avoid metal based restorations and those who have nickel allergies can easily choose zirconia crowns as they have 0% of metal in them. They are very biocompatible and can be used by even the most sensitive patients without any issues. Zirconia crowns are also well known for avoiding any gingival issues or allergies in patients.

Zirconia Crowns - After Care

Now that you have made your choice - it is also important to pay attention to the after care post the procedure. Dentists recommend keeping a check on the crown after the procedure is completed in the subsequent days. With good care, the crowns stay in place, do not cause any infection, prevent any damage to the existing tooth and can also last for a longer time. Brushing and flossing regularly and paying attention to oral care is very important for patients.

To avoid sensitivity, it is important to avoid too cold, too sticky, too hot or too hard foods for the first few days after the restoration is done. This helps in keeping the crown in place for longer and improving the adhesion. Visit your dentist for a follow up after a month or two and get follow up visits every year to make sure the crown is doing well. If the crown does come off, treat it as an emergency and preserve the crown so that it can be refixed.