Let’s try to decide on the material and technology of prosthetics. Let’s take a closer look at crowns: metal ceramics or zirconium on implants, what is better for chewing teeth, on the front teeth, what is the difference between them, and other topical issues. With all possible objectivity, we will highlight not only the advantages but also the disadvantages of each of them, we will certainly go through the prices – so that you understand how much it will cost to restore a smile.

Metal-ceramic crowns

First, about when it is generally necessary. The installation of any of them is relevant if the jaw unit is destroyed by more than half and is no longer subject to filling. In such a situation, doctors simply close it with a special orthopedic design that looks natural and allows you to eat, drink and laugh comfortably.

There are two fundamental solutions – consider both.

Metal-ceramic crowns

Durable, quite aesthetic, budget. Each of them is a frame made of an alloy according to an individual cast (and therefore quite accurately repeats the shape of a cutter or molar), covered with a spray layer, and fired at a temperature of 900 degrees Celsius.

As a result of such execution and processing, a functional prosthesis is obtained that does not require getting used to and does not cause discomfort for many years of wearing it. The technology of its manufacture has already been tested over time, which means that all its operational properties are known even in the long term, which is a definite plus during installation.


Before comparing which dental crowns (implants) are better, metal-ceramic or zirconia, you need to look at what options are in each category. This one has 3 types:

  • Classic (traditional) – with a frame made of cobalt-chromium, covered with porcelain in several layers. In order to save money, spraying is not applied to the ledges, which means that gaps and a cyanotic effect can be observed at the root. Because of this phenomenon, which is especially pronounced in gingival recession, this technology is used for prosthetics of premolars and molars that do not fall on the smile line.

Cheaper materials, like nickel or beryllium, are becoming less and less common today, as they often provoke allergic and inflammatory reactions. So, before the operation, it makes sense to ask the doctor what the proposed orthopedic structures are made of (especially if their price is low).

  • With a “shoulder mass” – they are already offered more often when it comes to which crowns for implants are better, metal-ceramic or zirconium dioxide, the difference with the classic version they have as a veneer. They are covered with an additional porcelain layer, which excludes direct contact of the frame with soft tissues. The result is no irritation or blue gums. They are placed to restore any jaw units, including the anterior ones, however, they are somewhat more expensive than the “traditional” ones.
  • Precious – with a base made of silver, gold, or platinum and does not oxidize even when the pH environment in the oral cavity is aggressive for some reason. Sufficiently durable and practical, hypoallergenic.

True, there are still aesthetic nuances: the material can shine through the porcelain, providing either yellowing (it looks quite natural) or darkening. Therefore, it makes sense to ask the doctor what the effect will be after installing the prosthesis.

Advantages and disadvantages

Considering how cermet differs from zirconium ceramics, it is necessary to highlight its advantages. They are, they are quite important and they are enough because it is thanks to them that the long-known orthopedic structures remain relevant and are still used to create supports for bridges, when fastening pins, and to eliminate defects in one or more neighboring jaw units.

In the list of unique advantages:

  • Reliability, strength, durability – subject to accuracy and simple rules, they serve up to 10 years or more.
  • Lack of interaction with the pH environment of the oral cavity – does not provoke a change in the acid-base balance.
  • The ability to stably withstand even the most intense loads – arguing about what is better, metal-ceramic or zirconium for crowns, it should be noted that prostheses with a cobalt-chromium frame are just fine for chewing teeth.
  • Resistance to displacement – after fixing, none of them will “leave” to the side.
  • High maintainability – even if part of the porcelain coating breaks off, it will be restored without any problems by spraying technicians from the clinic’s laboratory.
  • The minimum probability of rejection – they will almost certainly “take root” and will delight in their hygiene for years.
  • Versatility – an orthopedic design can be created for any jaw unit, quite accurately repeating its shape and color shade.
  • Availability – today they are an inexpensive option, which allows even with the loss of several incisors and molars to restore a smile without a huge financial outlay.

There are also disadvantages, otherwise, people would not think about which crown for their teeth is better, made of metal-ceramic or zirconium oxide, and they would put porcelain-coated prostheses without exception.

On the list of cons:

  1. Translucence of the frame – due to it, darkening or yellowing is observed in the area of ??\u200b\u200badjacent to the gum, which worsens the aesthetic impression.
  2. The gradual destruction of the decorative coating – under load it becomes thinner, and chips and cracks appear on its surface; although it is being restored.
  3. Damage to opposing jaw units – during eating, they collide with the prosthesis (which is harder than the previous incisors or molars) and wear out faster from this.
  4. The need for intensive preliminary grinding – when we choose what we will have, a ceramic-metal or zirconium crown on a tooth, the difference is that in the first case, it will be necessary to remove about 1.5 mm of enamel, and this is a lot and complicates subsequent dental operations (if they for some reason will have to be carried out in the future).
  5. The need for depopulation – in most situations, the nerve has to be removed (as well as to clean the canal, and put a seal), otherwise, the manipulations are fraught with burns and pain.
  6. The likelihood of allergies – to chromium, cobalt, or other materials; such an undesirable reaction is accompanied by inflammation of the gums, local itching, swelling of the tongue, burning in the mouth, and a constant unpleasant aftertaste.

Zirconia crowns

They are premium quality micro-prostheses made using advanced technology. Made from ZrO2 – in fact, these are biocompatible crystals, colorless, strong in their structure, and here they are also pressed and heat-treated.

The resulting orthopedic structures are practically indistinguishable from natural jaw units in their shape and color and can withstand even more significant loads. Their installation takes place quickly and without any unpleasant consequences such as allergic reactions or inflammatory processes. The fixation is reliable, and the fit to the gum is tight, but without a feeling of discomfort.



Before considering what is better, zirconium or metal-ceramic crowns, on teeth, or implants, looking for advantages and making a photo comparison of the differences and features of each of the two options, you need to find out what types of prostheses exist on a ZrO2 frame. And there are only 2 of them:

  • Porcelain-coated – while being reliable, it looks very aesthetically pleasing, therefore it is great for the front zone of a smile. True, there is a weak point at the border between the base and the cladding, which is prone to chipping due to the weakening of the bond of materials over time. But for restoration, it’s just a great solution.
  • Monolithic – made from a single ZrO2 crystal, machined on a CNC machine, according to a 3D model of the patient’s jaw created from a cast.

Today, more and more innovative varieties of the mineral are used, such as Multi-layer, which boasts multi-level transparency and the most natural whiteness. The difference and advantage of zirconium crowns over metal ones, according to customer reviews, is that they are just a little darker at the roots, without unhealthy cyanosis. At the edges, their shade is slightly lighter, which is why they look quite natural. Multilayer technology is relevant for the restoration of the frontal group of the jaw, which is not supposed to be heavily loaded. And here are a few “standard” monolithic prostheses, designed for thorough chewing of food, for many years will be a wonderful alternative to a bridge or a replacement for destroyed molars.

Supernumerary teeth or hyperdontia types, symptoms, and treatment

There is another option – the E-max material, which is gaining more and more popularity, but we will consider it separately.

Advantages and disadvantages

If you objectively evaluate zirconium crowns, the advantages of them or metal ceramics always coexist with disadvantages.

Although there are still more advantages. Among them:

  1. High accuracy of execution – since they are machined using CAD / CAM, according to a digital model, based on scans of the oral cavity, the errors of doctors or laboratory technicians are almost completely excluded. It is possible to obtain a truly complete copy of the destroyed jaw unit, or even a more perfect version of it, devoid of defects.
  2. Aesthetic appearance – such prostheses let in sunlight, so with them, you can calmly and confidently smile in any life situation.
  3. Strength and durability – on average, they serve about 15 years, and with a caring attitude towards them – up to 20.
  4. No need for intensive grinding – that’s why zirconia crowns are better than metal ceramics; to install them, it is enough to remove only 0.4 mm of enamel – this is significantly less than 1.5.
    The maximum tightness (without irritation of soft tissues), virtually eliminates the appearance of inflammation of the gums.
  5. Antibacterial effect – is a kind of protection against the development of caries.
  6. Installation safety – it is almost impossible to cause harm to health, even with little experience in performing such manipulations.
  7. Consistency of color – over time, it does not fade and does not turn yellow.
  8. Versatility – make it possible to replace all jaw units, including the front ones, for a long time and with guarantees (in good clinics).
  9. The difference between a zirconium crown and a metal-ceramic crown is the price. On average, it is 1.5-2 times more expensive and this is singled out as its main disadvantage. Although this disadvantage is explained by the fact that innovative materials and modern equipment are used in the process of its production, and it is leveled by a long service life.

Another caveat lies in the increased hardness of the mineral: because of it, ZrO2 prostheses are not recommended for patients suffering from bruxism, as they can very quickly erase the enamel of the incisors and molars opposite the restored jaw units. But in general, there are still much more pluses, and they are much more important.

A crown on a tooth made of zirconium dioxide or metal-ceramic – which is better to choose for prosthetics

It is impossible to immediately and unequivocally answer this question, because a lot depends on the specific situation, on the individual characteristics of the patient, and on how much he is willing to spend on restoring his smile. Although any doctor, of course, will advise not to save on health and will be right.

In the absence of contraindications, specialists always look at the place of the proposed installation. If this is the frontal part of the jaw, the most aesthetic prosthesis should be preferred, that is, machined from ZrO2 or its analog. If it is lateral, then both options are suitable – the only exceptions are cases when the premolar or molar is already seriously damaged and it simply cannot be turned to fix the cobalt-chromium frame.

zirconium crowns

Difference between cermet and zirconium: comparison table

It shows the main differences very clearly.


  • Lifetime
  • on average 15-20 years
  • Great
  • up to 1.2-1.5 mm
  • Usually carried out
  • Partial
  • impressive
  • Price


  • 5-10 years or more
  • Appearance
  • Enamel turning
  • up to 0.4-0.5 mm
  • Usually, it is not necessary
  • Complete
  • The maximum possible (if we consider monolithic prostheses)
  • Medium (in Dentika – 15,000 rubles)


  • 5-10 years or more
  • Good, but with a slight darkening at the root
  • Depulping
  • Hypoallergenic
  • Strength
  • Approximately 1.5-2 times higher (31,000 rubles)

But these are not all of the options available today.

E-max – analogue of ZrO2

There were a lot of controversies about which crown is better, zirconium or metal, and dental technicians decided to expand the choice even further and presented this material. It is eco-friendly, pressed, largely composed of leucite crystals, and therefore very durable. At the same time, it is completely translucent, even with a considerable thickness.

The jaw unit of the desired shape is machined on a robotic machine from a solid workpiece (piece), according to a previously created 3D model. The result is a monolithic prosthesis of the desired color and shade, the surface of which completely repeats the natural structure of the enamel. It looks exactly as familiar and natural as your own incisors and molars.

Do you know how to distinguish metal ceramics from zirconium crowns? It will be immediately visible in the light, at least the darkening at the roots will definitely be noticeable. But this does not threaten E-max: it will be possible to recognize the artificial origin of the jaw unit only according to the results of digital scanning, but not visually.

The list of other advantages of Emax includes biocompatibility and hypoallergenic – it does not cause rejection or irritation, and even the slightest discomfort after prosthetics will not be felt. And the material is suitable for both front and side installation because it is resistant to abrasion. Suitable for those who are especially anxious about the beauty of their smile.

Comparison of zirconia and metal-ceramic crowns with E-max

We will supplement the existing table with new technology and several important indicators.


  • Strength
  • Service life, years
  • Appearance
  • Turning
  • Depulpation
  • Allergy
  • Installation area


  • Good
  • 5-10
  • With darkening at the root due to gaps in the base
  • Significant, up to 1.5 mm
  • Need to remove the nerve and put a seal
  • May provoke
  • Molars, although prostheses on the “shoulder mass” are sometimes placed in front


  • Maximum
  • 15-20
  • Excellent degree of naturalness
  • Minimum required, 0.4-0.5 mm
  • Not required
  • Don’t call
  • Monolithic-side, multi-layer – front


  • High
  • 15-20
  • closest to natural
  • 0.4-0.5mm
  • Equally well suited to replace any jaw unit

The difference between zirconium crowns and metal ceramics is in price, but there is no significant difference between them and E-max. Yes, the first time after the appearance of E-max, they were more expensive, but by today they have caught up with ZrO2, as you can see just by looking at the offers for prosthetics at the Dentika clinic.

But between all three solutions, there is something in common – these are the rules of care. They need to be cleaned twice a day (or more often), with a soft brush and a non-abrasive paste. After eating, floss or an irrigator should be used. Well, visits to the doctor for a preventive examination should be made at least once every six months.

What is better, zirconium or metal-ceramic crowns on the front teeth, what is the difference

Aesthetics is especially important for the smile zone, so ZrO2 prostheses, two-layer ones, that is, with porcelain coating, will be a great option for canines and incisors, because they will look exactly the same as real ones. And turning is less – if anything, after 20 years it is not a problem to remove them and replace them with new ones. Well, for maximum realism, you can choose E-max.

metal ceramic crown vs zirconia

And hypersensitivity, by the way, does not threaten – the material does not transmit cold or heat to the nerve (mind you, preserved and alive), which means that while enjoying a cup of steaming coffee or a portion of delicious ice cream, you definitely won’t have to wince from sharply shot pain.

Porcelain-fused-to-metal crown or zirconia, which is better for posterior teeth

The optimal solution for the lateral jaw zone is fixed prosthetics, as the molars experience consistently high loads. Visual aesthetics does not play such an important role here, so it is worth covering them with orthopedic structures with a cobalt-chromium frame and porcelain coating.

If the budget allows, you can make prostheses from ZrO2 (only necessarily monolithic) or from E-max. These two options, by the way, are considered preferable when installed on pins, since the mineral abutment will definitely not irritate the gums, but the titanium one is capable.

Summing up

We have given a lot of useful information for reflection, but to make a choice, see for yourself how metal-ceramic differs from zirconium dioxide in dentistry: comparing a dozen smiles will help you finally decide. We only add that saving on health is not worth it.