Introduction to Zirconia

Full contour Zirconia


     For years there has been a dedicated search to find an alternative to gold crowns that are both biocompatible and esthetically pleasing for your patient. The advantages of gold crowns have been well demonstrated through millions of case studies, but its biggest disadvantage is its lack of natural tooth coloring and the fluctuations of the gold market. Many patients are now resisting gold crowns because they want a higher esthetic looking crown. They no longer want any of their teeth to be showing gold. Many of the all ceramic restorations available today lack the strength for first and second molars and will often chip or fracture resulting in a remake and wasting everybody’s time.

What is Zirconia

      Zirconia is a relatively new material in the dental market when compared to a gold crown. It is made of 90-95% ZrO2, 4.5-6% Y2O3, <5% HIO2, and <0.5% AI2O3. It is FDA approved as Yttrium Zirconia. Full Contour Zirconia restorations offer flexural strength ranging up to 1200MPa and achieves excellent biocompatibility. These characteristics make Zirconia a great option for a full contour restoration. Current studies conclude the material shows clinically tolerable wear with natural tooth structure.

Types of Zirconia Restorations

      Today there are numerous types of Zirconia restorations and more are coming out each day. They range in translucency and strength, they can be dipped in liquid or colored with a brush. To get the best results you must find what works best for you. The most popular Zirconia crown at the moment is the BruxZir crown. It has a very high flexural strength but not quite the esthetics of the new Prettau Anterior Zirconia crowns. Prettau’s crowns have a 600MPa flexural strength but the have the same translucency as an IPS Emax Crown. There is not one end all be all option for every Zirconia restoration but if you have the right information you can make an informed choice. Since BruxZir crowns range at 1200MPa they are able to span an entire arch without the risk of fracture while the 600MPa rated Prettau crowns are only able to span 3-4 units.


If there are any questions on how to make the most out of using Zirconia for your practice you can comment below and send an email to