Zirconium or metal-ceramic crowns? When should we replace them?

Have you been wearing a mouthguard that is a different colour or looks unpleasant? Have you started to see a black groove underneath or a dark shadow on your gum? You may need to renew your covers, here's why.

A dental caps or crowns is a type of fixed prosthesis that is placed over a natural tooth, imitating the shape and colour of the tooth. This treatment is only carried out on very weakened teeth as a reinforcement, which we have to grind or reshape, and then "glue" a made-to-measure cover onto them.

Traditionally, veneers were made with an internal metal structure, which gave them strength, and an external ceramic layer that provided the shape and a more tooth-like colour. They are a type of treatment that has worked very well for many years, but they have two drawbacks:

  • As there are two layers of material, the original tooth has to be cut down a lot to make room for the sheath.
  • Despite the ceramic coating, the metal shows through and gives an unnatural colour. 

We often wonder how many years our covers will last or if at some point it will be necessary to change them. Although it is not possible to give an exact expiry date, we do know that depending on each person, over the years it may be necessary to renew our covers, as chewing itself will wear down the ceramic. 

We can also change them because of a pathology such as caries or a misalignment, which, if not treated in time, can lead to the loss of the tooth. On other occasions we decide to change them for aesthetic reasons, as a dark line may appear between the crown and the gum. This is due to the metal that is exposed at the margins of our old metal-ceramic veneer. 

Nowadays, we have a large number of materials available to avoid this type of problem, such as pure ceramics or zirconium. The latter in particular, zirconium, has many advantages over conventional crowns.

It is a biocompatible material, unlike other metals or alloys, so it is better tolerated by the gums and allergic reactions are rarer. It is very resistant, so it works very well in thin thicknesses and allows us to be more conservative with the tooth to which we are going to make the veneer, because we will have to cut it less. At the same time, it offers very good aesthetics and it can be made to look imperceptible next to our own teeth.

How easy is it to make this change?

The process is quite simple, just remove the old caps, slightly touch up the tooth and make new records of our mouth.

Would I have to go without teeth?

At no time is it possible to fit temporary aesthetic teeth while the dental technician prepares the new definitive caps.