Zirconia CrownsZirconia crowns are porcelain structures reinforced with Zirconium oxide, which makes them more durable and more resistant to wear and damage.  Zirconia is the strongest, most advanced dental ceramic material available.  Zirconia, or zirconium dioxide, is a white crystalline oxide made from the metal zirconium, the same material that forms the basic structure of fake diamonds.

Many dentists consider zirconia an ideal, highly-effective restorative solution because it combines the aesthetics patients are hoping for and the strength the dentist demands.  In many laboratory tests, zirconia outperformed metal and ceramic in its superior strength and resistance to fractures.


The Benefits of Zirconia include:

  • Long lasting, as strong and durable as gold
  • Mimics the natural look of teeth far better than crowns with a gold base
  • Translucent appearance blends well with the natural teeth color
  • Cannot be spotted among natural teeth
  • Can be color matched to adjacent teeth
  • Provides the most pleasing appearance
  • Ideal option to cover-up the damage including stains and to restore the tooth function
  • Requires minimal tooth preparation, preserving most of the original tooth substance, making crown removal easier
  • Least likely to cause an allergic reaction possible with porcelain fused to metal crowns
  • Glass ionomer cements work extremely well, avoiding reaction to porcelain bonding techniques
  • Bonding process between zirconia and porcelain is stronger than with gold *
  • Full zirconia is stronger than porcelain
  • Crowns and bases are milled from digital scans making the margins extremely accurate
  • May be less expensive than gold or gold-based crowns

* Because of the stronger bonding process, zirconia is an ideal base for porcelain, and that means the porcelain is less likely to fracture away from a zirconia core than a gold one.

Dental crowns can be made of either full zirconia or they can be porcelain fused to a zirconia core.

Benefits of full zirconia:

  • Flexural strength greater than 1400 MPa
  • Highly translucent
  • Do not show a thin black border at the gum line
  • Natural looking

Benefits of porcelain fused to zirconia (PFZ):

  • Latest technology used to achieve a precise fit
  • Excellent strength
  • Highly esthetic
  • Allow more light to pass through them giving translucency
  • ideal for anterior teeth

Two popular brands of porcelain fused to zirconia dental crowns are:

  1. Lava crown from 3M™ – Made with a translucent Zirconia core which is shaded and has a layer of feldspathic porcelain baked over the outside. Beautiful end result.
  2. IPS e.max® from Ivoclar – Made of monolithic lithium disilicate ceramic, delivers outstanding esthetics, and a precision fit.

The Lava and e.max crowns are similar, both highly esthetic and both having a high-strength core that is milled rather than cast.  There are two types of e.max crowns:

  • A lithium disilicate core
  • A zirconia core

Both cores are ceramic material.  The e.max crown can be covered with either a baked feldspathic porcelain or a pressed ceramic. Pure feldspathic porcelain is less strong, but for most people, its longevity is satisfactory, so long as the wearer doesn’t have a ferocious bite. It’s a matter of opinion between esthetic dentists whether the pressed ceramic or feldspathic porcelain is the most beautiful. The choice usually depends on the prerequisites of the particular case.

Advantages of E-max crowns

  • lifelike shape
  • transparent color providing an exact color match with the patient’s own teeth
  • no metal alloy base thus does not affect the aesthetics around the gum line
  • long lasting, strong, and less prone to fractures than other traditional crown types
  • less likely to get chipped than zirconia crowns

Advantages of Lava Crowns

  • The zirconia copings and frameworks provide the strength while the veneering material provides the esthetics (superior when compared to PFM restorations)
  • Provides natural translucency
  • Lava coping can be shaded to closely simulate dentin, eliminating the graying caused by a metal substructure.
  • Excellent rating for resistance to marginal discoloration.
  • Excellent rating for resistance to wear.
  • Excellent resistance to fracture
  • Offers strength and longevity benefits of porcelain fused to metal (PFM)
  • Can be matched precisely to the color of your own teeth

If you are interested in zirconia crowns in Costa Rica, fill out the “Find a Dentist” form on this page.  One of our patient advocates will reply to your needs.