Zirconia vs Metal-based Crowns

What is a crown?

For the beginning we want to clarify something for those who are not initiated in this area. You should learn that a crown is a dental restoration that completely covers or surrounds a tooth or dental implant. The crown is usually fixed to the tooth using traditional dental cement, but other materials can be used for this operation.

To fabricate the crown, the dentist can choose from a wide range of materials, using, in general, the out-of-mouth method. Considering that crowns are frequently used to improve strength or appearance of teeth, the materials used for this must meet two important requirements: to be strong and aesthetic and this are: full-porcelain (ceramic) dental materials include porcelain, ceramic or glass screen fillings and crowns (aka jacket crown, a metal free option).

Is obvious that crowns are very beneficial to the restoration and maintenance of overall dental health, but choosing the best type of crown for you might be a dilemma, taking into consideration that dental medicine gives you two different forms of crowns: a crown can be comprised of either zirconium or metal-based properties, but we hope that this article will inform you well enough.

Zirconia vs Metal-based Crowns


In this competition, metal-based crowns are by far the most common. However, this isn’t the best criterion because its very long history (50 years), compared to zirconia crowns (just a couple of years) took it on the first place, not necessarily its qualities. As the name suggest, this is made up of a porcelain fused metal, but the proportions aren’t equal, largely consisting of metal because it is formed from a metal substructure.

Zirconia vs Metal-based Crowns: 0 – 1


On the opposite corner, zirconium-based crowns are all ceramic and have no metal included in their structure. One of the most important advantage is that zirconium based, all ceramic materials have a better appearance than metal-based crowns.

It’s known that ceramic crowns seems much more realistic, considering that this material tend to fight off discoloration much more effectively.

Zirconia vs Metal-based Crowns: 1 – 1


Speaking about durability, another criterion to take into account, the latest studies has shown that the substructures of three-unit fixed zirconium based crowns remained more durable and lasted longer than metal-based crowns, so zirconia wins again.

Zirconia vs Metal-based Crowns: 2 – 1


Moving further, some of you might be very interested in this criterion, considering that a lot of people accused allergic reactions at metal-based crowns. Thanks to its properties, after implantation, the soft tissue grows up on the ceramic implant as it does on a natural tooth and, amazingly, in the question of inflammation (plaque), the artificial ceramic teeth are even better for the gums than healthy teeth. In addition to this, the margins of the restorations for zirconium based crowns have a better appearance than metal-based crowns when gums recedes. So, gum sensitivity to various metals may be reduced or entirely eliminated with a ceramic, zirconium-based restoration.

Zirconia vs Metal-based Crowns: 3 – 1


So far, so good, but what about strength, what is the best option? Even if zirconium based crowns are on top ’till now, and ceramic seems the best choice, that is not entirely the case. Prostheses requiring precision attachments or stress breakers are best made with porcelain fused metal crown restorations. Keep in mind that a ceramic crown can be less resistant to stress or extra forces, compared to porcelain fused metal crown and despite the fact that the newer varieties have a stronger inner structure, there is an increased risk of chipping or a fracture as a result of this.

Zirconia vs Metal-based Crowns: 3 – 2

Treatment duration

In terms of duration, zirconia emerges again, because rapidity with which treatment is executed. It is much faster to use a zirconiua-based crown, thanks to technology that is used to create it, speaking strictly about the latest computer techniques, constructed so that it works best for the patient.

Zirconia vs Metal-based Crowns: 4 – 2

Electrical conductivity

You must know that the normal too hot/cold sensations you can feel with metal-based crowns does not normally occur when you have a zirconia-based crown because of the lack of electrical conductivity, this being another strong point for zirconia.

Zirconia vs Metal-based Crowns: 5 – 2


Here come another sensitive issue, because it’s at least 10 times more expensive to produce zirconia-based crwns than metal ones, since the extremely hard ceramic can only be worked on using diamond instruments. In consequence, zirconia-based crowns are much more expensive.

Zirconia vs Metal-based Crowns: 5 – 3

Concluding, zirconia remain the best choice, if you take into consideration all the criteria used above, offering a very good-looking appearance, a great durability, biocompatibility and no electrical conductivity, all these received in a very short time. Still, remember that metal-based crowns have a longer history, a better strength and the last, but not the least, a much better price.

If you aren’t convinced yet, below you can watch a video made with a specialist that explains you exactly what you should know about both technologies.

From here on the decision remains in your hands.


4 Responses to 'Zirconia vs Metal-based Crowns'

  1. Adi Creanga says:

    Which material is more realistic after a few years?

    • dentalzi says:

      Definitely zirconia, considering its aesthetic qualities. Keep in mind that all ceramic materials have a better appearance than metal-based crowns and seems much more realistic because this material tend to fight off discoloration much more effectively.

  2. vijayachitra says:

    pl offer details on whether ceramic crowns be fitted along with zirconia crowns on tooth

  3. Debbie says:

    Is anyone seeing patients with “allergic reactions” to the Zirconia crowns?

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