Dental implants consist of several components: the implant, which is inserted into the jaw, the crown or prosthetic tooth and the abutment, which connects the two. What are dental implant crowns made of? How do materials compare, and is one better than another?
When you schedule a consultation with Dr. Mike will offer recommendations based on your implant type and your individual needs. Provided below, is an overview of implant crown material options.
Dental implant crowns
Dental implant crowns are often made from:
- Porcelain fused to metal (PFM): Porcelain can be fused to metal to create a strong, durable false tooth. The base is usually made from a metal alloy, which may include nickel, titanium, gold and cobalt. The metal prosthetic is both functional and strong, ensuring full chewing capability. Porcelain is fused over the tooth-shaped base to match your natural teeth. Porcelain crowns are a popular choice, however, a thin line of metal may be visible near the gumline, making the implant more noticeable than other options.
- Zirconia: Solid zirconia crowns are becoming more popular. Using zirconia ensures that the crown has the same white hue all the way through—no need to worry about metal showing around the gumline. Zirconia is dense and smooth, and won’t wear on your natural teeth. Its high resistance to cracking and staining makes it a natural option for dental implant crowns. When zirconia is used for front tooth implants, it’s glazed with another layer of translucent zirconia to match your natural teeth. The glaze allows more light to come in, and looks remarkably similar to natural teeth. Finally, because zirconia doesn’t react with metals, there’s less chance of an allergic reaction.
- Emax: Emax dental implant crowns are made from a lithium disilicate glass-ceramic base. They’re about half as strong as zirconia implants, and look fairly natural. Unfortunately, the material is not suitable for anyone with a strong bite: it could crack the implant.
- Acrylic/composite resin: Acrylic and composite resin implant crowns are usually reserved for temporary prosthetics. Both materials can be formed to look very similar to natural teeth. However, they’re prone to cracking, chipping and staining. They may not have the same strength and density as PFM or zirconia implants, which could make chewing difficult. These are not considered a good long-term solution for dental implant crowns.
After Dr. Mike places your dental implant, he will likely recommend PFM or zirconia crowns. These materials offer the best longevity, durability and strength. You’ll be able to chew tough foods and speak just as if you had all of your natural teeth.
Both zirconia and PFM look natural. The vast majority of people can’t tell the difference between a dental implant and a natural tooth—so you can look forward to talking, smiling and posing for photos once again.
If you’re considering dental implants, Dr. Mike and the Cleveland Implant Institute team will guide you through the entire process. Call today to schedule a consultation.