Esthetics in dentistry have become an extremely important factor when it comes to the modern patients and their needs. Today, patients are concerned about how restorations will look on them, if people would be able to make out that they have crowns or implants affixed, if the new crowns or implants will look jarring and would not match up to the other teeth in their natural shade etc. These factors often drive patients away from getting proper dental checkups and procedures done fearing for the esthetic changes that may happen when there is removal of old teeth and replacement with artificial options.
Although this concern is definitely valid from the patient perspective, it is not something that should inhibit them from getting dental procedures done. Many decades of the latest dental research has gone into identifying the best dental materials and methods that can be used on patients so that there is a good give and take between what the dentists want and what the patients want - the combination of strength, durability, compatibility and esthetics. Today, the dental world has come a long way in terms of achieving this goal of high esthetics with highly functional dental crowns.
Dental Crowns | Introduction
Dental crowns are one of the most important kinds of dental procedures that are done to patients with issues in their original, natural teeth. These issues can range between mildly concerning (cosmetic reasons) to major concerns (infections and fracture). Below are the most common concerns where dental crowns can be used:
- Fractures in the teeth
- Discolouration of the teeth
- Misshapen teeth
- Caries lesions or cavities in the teeth
- Severe infection due to cavity affecting multiple teeth etc
These are some of the scenarios that are commonly seen when it comes to dental crown procedures. Dental crowns have become one of the most preferred procedures by dentists to replace the lost functionality of a tooth in a patient due to any of the above given factors. Dental crowns are now available in many different types and there are different kinds of dental materials that are used in dentistry and the best type of dental crown based on the requirement of the patient can be chosen by the dentist as well as the patient mutually.
Often patients want certain factors that are different from what the dentists want to see in a dental crown. For example most dentists want strength and durability in a dental crown. They also prefer the ones that are an exact match to the patient in terms of compatibility and patient habits (such as bruxism or low dental hygiene). On the other hand patients are more concerned with either cosmetic appeal or the budget of the crown. The combination of these factors are seldom seen in the dental world but today, there are a few options in the market that serve both these requirements, such as in the case of Zirconia Crowns
Zirconia Crowns and Multi Layered Translucent Zirconia Crowns
Zirconia Crowns are basically one of those superheroes in the dental world with unique life changing superpowers that make them the highlight! ZIrconia crowns are milled from Zirconium dioxide blocks and most Zirconia crowns that we see today are Yttrium dioxide stabilised forms of Zirconia crowns. Zirconia crowns offer a large variety of benefits to dentists and patients alike by presenting them with a range of advantages as opposed to traditional crown types.
Zirconia ceramic crowns, like the name suggests is a type of ceramic crown restoration and has always had a good reputation for being one of the few crowns that can be used for anterior restorations and in esthetic conscious patients. Although there is a significant disadvantage in its appearance too. The Zirconia tooth crown have a white opaque texture that may look unnatural in contrast to the natural enamel that has a mild yellow stain to it. The first and second generation of zirconia crowns that were introduced had 3% yttrium oxide (a metric that determines the strength, colour and other characteristics of the restoration material), the Third generation had 5% which decreased the strength but improved on the translucency. This type of Zirconia crown can be used for anterior teeth up until the premolars but were not suitable for other restorations.
The 4th generation of Zirconia crowns brought down this ratio of alumina to yttrium dioxide by 4% improving the flexural strength and still having good levels of translucency which is the most widely accepted variant of Multilayered Translucent Zirconia crown today. The slightly less translucent nature is soon replaced by the better strength that is offered by this crown.
Biocompatibility is perhaps the highlight of all the features because being biocompatible with human health in general is extremely important for the best performance and functionality of a dental crown in the patient’s mouth. Zirconia is highly compatible with minimal to no chances of allergic reactions in humans. Patients who have Nickel based allergies can definitely choose Zirconia dental crowns.
When compared to Metal, PFM and Resin based crowns,Zirconia crowns price may be a bit higher but the cost of zirconia dental crown is lower when compared to all ceramic crowns and Gold or other precious metal crowns. The Zirconia crown cost anywhere between a few tens of dollars but the crown is worth the investment due to its incredible strength and durability which lasts approx 15 years or so.
When it comes to esthetics, there is a great variety of esthetics that Zirconia offers to its clients. The first generation of Zirconia was quite opaque with a solid white structure which came to be unnatural after a while. Today, there are better variants of Zirconia tooth crowns such as Multilayered Translucent Zirconia crowns that have translucent, natural teeth like colour and behaviour. Being a variant of ceramic crown in itself, Zirconia ceramic crowns are an excellent option for anterior restorations in patients.
4. Strength and Durability
The Strength and Durability of Zirconia dental crowns are well known by most people and is one of the most popular reasons why zirconia is used. Although extreme high strength of zirconia may not be great on the opposing teeth, these features are adjusted and rectified in the newer generations of Zirconia teeth crowns such as in the Multilayered Translucent Zirconia crowns. Owing to its high flexural strength, Zirconia crowns are very durable and last over 10 to 15 years with good maintenance and hygiene.
5. Precision and Prep
Zirconia crowns are made with CAD/CAM technologies and are milled from blocks of Zirconium dioxide in dental labs - this is why these crowns are extremely customisable and precisely made for the patients. This also reduces the time to make these crowns and the amount of time spent on contouring, adjusting and crimping the crowns during restorations. It is one of the biggest advantages of this type of crown as it benefits the dentists as well as the patients by cutting down on the overall time from procedure to crown affixing.
Multi Layered Translucent Crown | Achieving the natural look
To achieve a natural look, Glass ceramic crowns are widely used but they have some significant issues such as strength, durability and cost. With multilayered Translucent zirconia crown, these attributes are achieved to a very far extent and is therefore a good alternative to glass ceramic dental restoration methods for patients. To achieve a natural look, these crowns are made using multilayer zirconia blocks. These blocks are made from different layers of pigmented intensities which give the illusion of a natural teeth with a natural glaze to it.
Where traditional zirconia crowns are made from a single colour Zirconia block, these crowns are made with 4 to 5 layers of pigmented material with differing translucencies, therefore achieving a natural teeth like colour and glaze in the dental crown. A shade darker to the original teeth colour is often chosen so that the results can be achieved with a single stain and glaze procedure. Abnormally light or translucent nature of the crown may risk the showing of the original stump, especially if the stump is discoloured.
Another advantage of a Multilayered translucent crown is the benefit of temporary cementation. This is a great advantage over variants such as high strength glass ceramic crowns. The wall thickness that is required for a multilayered translucent crown is much lower when compared to glass ceramic or any other type of crown - owing to its flexural strength. This means that there can be minimal invasive technique when following the dental procedures for the patient based on their condition.
Although this is a new technology and has been in use only for about 10 years, it is already one of the most preferred types of dental materials and dental restoration techniques worldwide. Multilayered translucent zirconia crowns offer a wide variety of benefits for both patients and dentists and is one of the revolutionary new approaches to esthetic restorations.
It is to be noted that this kind of restoration is still new and clinical trials are being made to add to the credibility of this dental restoration technique. There are also some notable demands for Multilayered Translucent Zirconia crowns such as the fact that it can be made only in labs that support super speed sintering and superfast dry milling procedures. The choice of the colour pigments and the Zirconia block also makes an important factor for the perfect dental crown in the right natural shade and appeal.Zirconia crown cost varies from one place to another but it is usually in a cost efficient gradient for a few tens to hundreds of dollars based on the restoration type.