There are a number of instances when your dentist can suggest crowns for your teeth. This article will explain the difference between Zirconia and Porcelain crowns so the next time they are suggested to you by your dentist you are able to understand the difference and be a partner in the decision-making process.

When a tooth is damaged to an extent where a filling will not suffice to restore the tooth to its original shape, or a tooth has undergone root canal treatment which makes it weak, then a crown is placed on it.  Sometimes crowns are needed to hold a dental bridge in place. They are also used as a tool in cosmetic dentistry to correct discolored and misplaced teeth.

The dental crown, as the name suggests covers or caps the tooth, hence is also called a dental cap. The main aim of the crown is to cover the tooth to make it strong, enhance its appearance and sometimes even to change the tooth’s alignment.

Crowns are made from different types of materials. If your dentist has advised that you need a crown, how would you know which is the right one for you? Read this article to find out more about porcelain and zirconia crowns. The same material is used not just for dental crowns but also for bridges. You, as the dental patient, should know what your body is coming in contact with and what impact it can have on you.

Ceramic Crowns: Ceramic or porcelain crowns as the name suggests are made from ceramic with additions of different compounds like lucite, silica, etc. It is in the same family of materials as glass and chinaware.


  1. They possess a superior life-like appearance that matches the natural tooth, hence they are most commonly preferred for front teeth and where excellent cosmetic considerations are required to achieve realistic esthetics. They allow the light to pass through them similar to the natural tooth giving them a real-life appearance.
  2. They are biocompatible with the oral tissues.


  1. They cannot be used for the back teeth as they cannot withstand a high amount of forces and can crack or chip.
  2. Also, they get stained faster.

Zirconia Crowns: They are made from zirconia which is made from about 90% zirconium oxide, which makes it very strong. This material has become very popular recently and has properties similar to titanium.

Advantages of Zirconia Crowns:

  1. Extremely durable and strong: It is approximately five times stronger than porcelain. So it is a good choice of material where strength is an essential factor such as for teeth in the back of your mouth. The newer option of monolithic zirconia (made from a single solid block of zirconia) is virtually unbreakable and is excellent for rough use in the presence of strong masticatory forces such as for teeth in the back of your mouth.
  2. It does not need a metal substructure since it is inherently strong.
  3. Being metal free is biocompatible and does not react with the body.
  4. Although earlier zirconia crowns used to be much more opaque, with newer technologies it can be made to look like the natural tooth in color and translucency.

However, there are a few disadvantages of Zirconia:

  1. Zirconia is not as translucent as compared to porcelain or some other materials. Hence it is not preferred as much for the front teeth as other materials but is more often used for the back teeth due to its strength.
  2. It is more expensive than traditional porcelain crowns. But the cost of Zirconia crowns varies from one dentist to the other.
  3. The teeth present in the opposite jaw where the zirconia crown is placed can wear down due to the hard nature of zirconia, especially if a person has a history of grinding their teeth.

Thus both materials have different properties and make for a great choice in selected situations.

Steps during the procedure:

The tooth that will receive a crown is reshaped or filed down a bit along the chewing surface and the sides to create enough space for the crown. The amount of reduction of tooth structure depends on the material of the crown and your bite amongst other things. You might or might not need anesthesia for this step. Next, the dentist will take an ‘impression’ i.e. measurements of teeth. This can be done using the traditional method that uses an impression tray loaded with a paste or putty material and is made to sit on your teeth for a few minutes. A more modern and technologically advanced clinic uses digital impressions that virtually capture images of your teeth. This is sent to the dental laboratory that fabricates the final dental crown. But before that happens, the dentist will also select the shade that most match your teeth so that your crown will look as natural and similar in appearance as the adjacent teeth. It takes a few days for the crown to be made and delivered to your dentist. A temporary crown will be placed on the prepared tooth for the interim period. Once the dental laboratory delivers the crown to your dentist, you will be called to the clinic. The dentist will check if the final crown fits appear as desired. A few minor adjustments are sometimes needed. Next, it is cemented to your teeth. The dentist will give you instruction on how to take care of your crowns; make sure to follow them. Also, make sure to visit your dentist every six months to keep a check on the crown as well as to keep future dental problems away.

There are many Prosthodontists in Mumbai, India who specialize in restoring and replacing missing or damaged teeth with zirconia as well as ceramic crowns. Cost of tooth crowns in India varies from one dentist to the other depending upon the level of expertise and the type of technology used.

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