The Rising Popularity of Zirconia Crowns for Children: What Parents Need to Know

The dental world of oral upkeep and maintenance has been changing around the world and it comes as no surprise that the generation of young men and women today are more conscious about their oral health than their predecessors. This welcome change has brought about many changes and with it, many challenges as well. The changes that we mentioned include better perspective on oral and dental health, more awareness towards dental hygiene which includes regular dental checkups and most importantly, teaching their own kids the value and importance of these practices.

What also may come as a challenge with this rising trend is the requirement of esthetic options in both adults and younger kids of these aesthetically conscious parents. As more and more parents are aware of the new and modified crown options that are available for adults in the world of dentistry, they expect that these options are also made available for their younger kids who may be dealing with Early age Carries. Early Age Carries is becoming a very popular and chronic disorder amongst children in the age group ranging 4 to 10.

With the rising self awareness and self esteem in the kids of the modern generation, it is only fair for such patients to want aesthetic dental options that do not detriment their beautiful smiles. Infact, much research has noted the benefits of having aesthetically pleasing dental options and how they help in having better self esteem and confidence in young children. Considering all these factors, many new esthetic dental options are now made available in the market including Veneered Stainless Steel Crowns, Resin Strip Crowns and the most profound and notable of all - The Pediatric Zirconia Crowns.

The Need for Pediatric Zirconia Crowns

Even though Stainless steel crowns dominate the market in pediatric dentistry and there is very little argument in the benefits that it has for pediatric dental issues, Zirconia crowns are the need of the hour. It is true that stainless steel crowns are safe, strong, durable and most importantly economic when it comes to temporary teeth restoration solutions in young kids but it is not a great option in some conditions such as:

  • In patients who have metal allergies
  • In patients who have anterior restoration requirements
  • In patients who want an esthetic restoration option for their posterior teeth

These are some of the indications of Zirconia dental crown in pediatric patients. The rise of Zirconia ceramic crowns date back to the 1970s but pediatric options of the same were only introduced as late as 2008. But ever since they were first introduced by EZ-Pedo, a crown making company that makes zirconia based crowns for pediatric patients, it has seen a sharp rise in demand in the global market. Today there are many such brands with different varieties and trademark properties that patients get to choose from.

Pediatric Zirconia Tooth Crowns have multiple benefits when compared to the other types of non-esthetic crown options available in the market. Not only are they bio-inert, which makes them extremely biocompatible in the mouth, they are also ideal for hypersensitive patients who do not want to risk any metallic restorations. Zirconia is completely free from any metal and can be used safely in children with Nickel based allergies. Zirconia is known to be extremely strong, durable and has a very high fracture resistance, all of which are great properties to have in a tooth restoration material for young children.

When it comes to the cost of Zirconia crowns, they are higher priced than normal stainless steel crowns. Most Zirconia crowns cost below a few hundred dollars but the Zirconia crown price depends on the brand and the type of crown that you choose. As earlier mentioned, each brand has their own trademark qualities and therefore, the Zirconia crown costs may vary from one brand to another. As they are quite new to the market, many insurance providers do not still cover it and so, patients must try to choose an insurance cover more aptly to stay covered.

Advantages of Pediatric Zirconia Crowns

Even though there are other esthetic options that are available in the market such as Veneered stainless steel crowns and resin strip crowns, none of these options match to the qualities and advantages that are offered by Zirconia dental crowns. Below are some of the best properties of Zirconia crowns for pediatric patients

1. Biocompatibility

This is the number 1 factor why most dentists prefer to use Zirconia crowns - These crowns are completely metal free and are bio-inert in nature which makes them apt for usage in pediatric patients. Even though extensive research is unavailable for these crowns as they have been added to dentistry recently, there is much proof that validates its use in metal allergy patients and patients with hypersensitivity. Some patients/parents of patients willingly opt over metal free restorations in order to reduce their exposure to metals and for these purposes, Zirconia is the best option.

2. Esthetics

Another top most quality of these crowns are certainly their aesthetics - Zirconia crowns are very natural looking and teeth-like and therefore can easily pass off as natural teeth in patients who have anterior restorations. For posterior restorations, there is hardly any difference that can be observed by an onlooker, when it comes to natural and zirconia restorations. Veneered stainless steel crowns often give away their appearance in the slight grey metal lining near the gums and resin strip crowns often fade and become discoloured. Zirconi

3. Strength and Durability

Zirconia is by far the toughest restorative material there is - next to diamond, they have a very high fracture resistance and have extremely high chemical resistance. Their durability is simply outstanding and therefore is much suited in younger children who need restorations that can last over a decade. The commonest form of zirconia that is made into crowns is the Yttria stabilised form which adds to its strength and durability. Zirconia crowns can withstand normal day to day wear and tear and are chip-resistant and therefore can stay intact during minor falls and accidents that children often experience.

4. Customisation

Another great addition to this character is the ability of Zirconia crowns to customise to patient preference. Since Zirconia is mostly white and translucent, some users claim that it is less natural when used in anterior restorations. For this, natural glazing and staining can be done to give the crown a personalised natural finish that matches the other teeth. Zirconia crowns often require less tooth removal and therefore more portion of the original tooth is retained, which is an important factor for the normal exfoliation of the teeth. Zirconia crowns can be easily modified for any size, shape and fit and provide a very satisfactory fit and finish.

5. Better Overall Satisfaction

It is also notable that several research was conducted on the overall satisfaction score of dental restoration in pediatric patients who used different kinds of crowns (preveneered SSC, Resin Strip, Regular SSC and Zirconia crowns). In all of this research, it was evident that despite the advantages and disadvantages in all these crowns, most patients had higher satisfaction when they used a Pediatric Zirconia crown over all the others. The crowns are easy to maintain, are durable and therefore lasted longer and were incredibly natural looking therefore helping children with a natural smile and a self confidence boost.

There are a few contraindications in which case Zirconia crowns may not be the most suitable solution for the patient. In such conditions, the dentist may opt for other types of crowns such as a regular Stainless steel crown, a preveneered stainless steel crown or a composite resin strip crown. These factors include

  • If the patient has crowding of teeth, which gives the dentist very less space to restore a specific teeth due to lack of restorative space
  • If there is very little original tooth material left providing not much area to work on
  • If the patient has a heavy bruxism indication - which can wear down a zirconia crown
  • If the patient is non-cooperative such as a fussy/anxious/scared child
  • Heavy bleeding - which may pose a challenge in setting of the crown using a cement

Caring for Zirconia Crowns in Pediatric Patients

Just like any other crown restoration, it is important to ensure that dental crowns are well cared for. Regular dental hygiene has to be maintained and children must be given good knowledge on how to care for their teeth and oral health. Post the placement of a zirconia crown, much care needs to be taken so that the teeth are well set. The dentist would advise you specifically on what to eat, drink and what to avoid post the restoration of a zirconia crown. These rules are fairly easy to follow and children can quickly go back to their usual routine within a few days.

Some important things to ensure are

  • Not to eat anything too hard using the newly restored teeth
  • Avoiding chewy food that sticks on the newly restorative tooth
  • Avoiding food or beverages that are too hot or too cold
  • Mitigating Bruxism by seeking help and using a night guard
  • Regular brushing and flossing to avoid further decay and caries
  • Using a mouthwash from time to time
  • Visiting your dentist regularly to stay abreast of your dental needs