I have several metal allergies and need to get a crown. I want to get a metal-free crown but it is for my back tooth. My dentist does two types of non-metal crowns. One is all-porcelain and the other is zirconia. Here’s my concern. I know all-porcelain is out because it is on a back tooth. However, I’m worried about the zirconia because I heard the materials are radioactive and can be difficult to remove. Is it unsafe?
While there is trace radioactivity in zirconia, that isn’t the type of dangerous radiation you are likely concerned about. You should also know that some zirconia materials are refined to minimize even that trace amount. As for safety, you will be fine. People freak out when they hear radiation, but there is similar radiation in brick, concrete, and water.
An all-ceramic crown is a good choice for people with metal sensitivities, especially in situations where you can’t use and all-porcelain crown. There are two basic ceramic types available. One is zirconia, which we just discussed. The other is lithium disilicate. This is used in CEREC crowns. It is strong, but the zirconia is stronger.
As for whether zirconia is difficult to remove, yes, it can be. The one that mostly effects, though, is your dentist. Not you. He’ll go through a couple of diamond burs removing them. If the crown is well done, you likely won’t face that.
In reality, a more important factor in the safety of a dental crown is the fit of the crown. You want it as tightly fit as possible to prevent recurrent decay.
One important thing to do is don’t push your dentist out of his comfort zone. Let him work with the materials he’s comfortable with. That does not mean you have to settle for a material you are unhappy with. If your heart is set on something your dentist doesn’t do, you can always go to a different dentist for that procedure. A good dentist won’t mind that. They want you to get the care you are comfortable with.
I don’t think this will be an issue for you. It sounds like your dentist does metal-free dentistry, so he should be able to work with whatever you want.
This blog is brought to you by Duluth, GA Dentist Dr. David Marion.