E.max and Zirconia: Two Dental Crown Types That Shine

Dental crown types

Beautiful and Durable Dental Crown Restorations

When you have a damaged or blemished tooth that needs a makeover, a dental crown can save your smile.

Dental crowns are a versatile restorative dentistry service that can also double as a cosmetic dentistry treatment. They completely envelope problematic teeth in a tooth-colored material to restore their strength and beauty for years to come. Sheppard Family Dental Care offers two types of dental crowns: IPS e.max and zirconia. We’ve chosen these options for their aesthetic appeal, strength, and durability.

If you haven’t heard of these types of dental crowns before, you might be wondering why we offer them instead of traditional materials that are popular at other dental practices. Let’s dive into the basics of e.max and zirconia crowns by answering the questions that might be on your mind.

Why do dental crown materials matter?

Choosing the right material is a very important step in a successful dental crown restoration. The type of dental crown you and your dentist select for your tooth will affect many factors, including the:

  • expected lifespan of the dental crown.
  • realism of its appearance, including translucency and color gradation.
  • strength of the crown when biting down or chewing.
  • density of the crown and its vulnerability to staining.

Material choice is even more significant for front teeth and molars! Front teeth are very visible, making the aesthetic appearance of the crown essential. As for molars, these teeth are the main chewing surfaces in your mouth. Crowns placed here should look beautiful but, most importantly, they need to be very strong and have exceptional durability.

What are e.max and zirconia crowns?

E.max and zirconia crowns are both categorized as ceramic crowns. E.max crowns are all-ceramic crowns made of lithium disilicate glass. Zirconia is also a ceramic, but it’s made of a powdered metal oxide called zirconium dioxide. 

Lithium disilicate glass crowns have been popular since the late 80s and early 90s. The name e.max comes from IPS e.max, the latest design of this crown system. Since this crown material has been around for decades, it’s very well understood by dentists, and expectations for its longevity tend to be fairly accurate. For these reasons, e.max crowns are relatively popular and are considered a “tried and true” choice.

Zirconia or zirconium crowns are a newcomer to the scene when compared to e.max technology. They were created to be a more aesthetically pleasing alternative to porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns (PFTM) that offers a realistic, tooth-like appearance without sacrificing strength. Zirconia crowns are incredibly durable and highly resistant to fractures or cracks.

Both e.max and zirconia crowns come in two options: full contour and layered. Full contour e.max or zirconia crowns are made entirely of their respective material, while layered e.max or zirconia crowns include porcelain for added translucency and beauty. 

What are their pros and cons?

Our dentists and patients love e.max and zirconia crowns. They offer plenty of functional and cosmetic advantages, but, as with any material, they aren’t without potential flaws. Here are the pros and cons of both materials.

E.max Crown Pros

  • They’re considered one of the most beautiful crown options in terms of appearance.
  • Color grading and translucency customization lend to a seamless blend with neighboring teeth.
  • Their popularity and long-time presence in dentistry mean they are well understood and very reliable.
  • They’re a great choice for an affordable but stunning crown on front teeth.
  • They can last for 10 years or more when cared for properly.

E.max Crown Cons

  • Full contour e.max crowns aren’t as translucent in appearance as layered e.max crowns.
  • They’re not the best choice for molars or crowning teeth in a patient who has bruxism (teeth grinding).

Zirconia Crown Pros

  • This is a super durable crown option that has dethroned porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns as the strongest material.
  • Layered zirconia is the weakest type of zirconia crown, yet it is twice as strong as other ceramic crowns, including e.max. 
  • They’re perfectly designed for placement on molars.
  • They will often last over 15 years with proper oral hygiene. 

Zirconia Crown Cons

  • Full contour zirconia lacks the realism of e.max, meaning they may not be a good choice for crowning visible teeth.
  • Preparation for full-contour zirconia crowns may require more tooth enamel to be removed compared to some other dental crown options.

Generally speaking, an e.max crown is perfect for someone who needs a crown on a very visible tooth or for those who are looking for an affordable dental crown option. A zirconia crown is ideal for crowning molars and rear teeth or if the patient needs a very strong crown overall because of a condition like bruxism.

Your dentist will go over these two crown materials with you in more detail during your consultation. They’ll also explain why they recommend one type over the other.

Schedule your dental crown consultation today.

Whether you have more questions about dental crowns or you need us to take a look at a troublesome tooth, booking a consultation is the next step. During your consultation, your dentist will examine your tooth, evaluate the need for a dental crown, and discuss your treatment options. You’ll be able to ask questions to learn more about dental crown treatment and the crowns we offer. Book your visit today by calling our Lawton, OK, office.