The key difference between metal ceramic and zirconia is that zirconia is lighter and stronger than metal-ceramic.
Metal ceramic is made of porcelain fused onto a metal base, whereas zirconia is made up of tiny white crystals known as zirconia crystals, which are often called white gold. Metal ceramic alloys and zirconia are two types of dental restorative materials. For decades, there have been numerous new dental restorative materials in use. These materials were introduced in response to a growing demand for biocompatible materials with improved aesthetic properties, robustness, and longevity, which made them capable of being alternatives to amalgam restorations.
What is Metal Ceramic?
Metal ceramic is an alloy used in dental restorations. The major advantage of using this material in dental restoration is its permanent aesthetic quality. There is a solid connection between the masking ceramic and the metal. In fact, almost no changes in color can take place in ceramic construction.
The filling made of metal-ceramic material is named the metal-ceramic crown. It has to be correctly produced and is very stable. Moreover, this alloy tends to be more durable compared to regular jacket crowns. But the metal-ceramic bridge involves several teeth, which can fracture and chip the ceramic under stress because of its inferior flexure strength. Due to this reason, when making such a bridge, it is very important to consider occlusal conditions.
Metal-ceramic alloy has been the most important restorative material for crowns in posterior regions. Moreover, metal-ceramic restorations are indispensable for implant-supported restorations. Most importantly, the metal framework of a metal-ceramic crown has to support the sintered ceramic as much as possible. When preventing the dark metal framework from shining through, it is important to place a layer of opaquer, and it has to be fired before the ceramic masses can be fired.
What is Zirconia?
Zirconia is a white crystalline solid that is made of zirconium dioxide. Therefore, it is the oxide of zirconium. The chemical formula is ZrO2. In nature, we can find this material in the form of the mineral baddeleyite. It is composed of a monoclinic crystalline structure.
We can produce zirconium dioxide by calcining zirconium compounds by using the high thermal stability of the compound. When considering the structure of zirconia, we can observe three major forms; monoclinic crystal structure, tetragonal structure, and cubic crystal structure. Chemically, zirconia is unreactive. However, acids such as hydrochloric acid and sulfuric acid can slowly attack the material.
The properties of zirconia, such as toughness and strength, make this material very useful. The major use of zirconia is in dentistry. It’s a relatively new material in dentistry and is now commonly used to manufacture crowns. Zirconia crowns are typically stronger and lighter than metal-ceramic crowns.
Zirconia is also compatible with humans and does not cause any allergic reactions, unlike some traditional materials used for crowns. Its homogeneous color and absence of metal also make it more suitable to be used as dental crowns. However, zirconia tends to be more expensive than metal-ceramic crowns.
What is the Difference Between Metal Ceramic and Zirconia?
Metal-ceramic alloys and zirconia are very important as dental restorative materials. Metal ceramic is made of porcelain fused onto a metal base, whereas zirconia is made up of tiny white crystals named zirconia crystals that contain zirconium dioxide. The key difference between metal ceramic and zirconia is that zirconia is lighter and stronger than metal-ceramic. Therefore, zirconia crowns are more durable than metal-ceramic crowns.
The below infographic presents the differences between metal ceramic and zirconia in tabular form for side-by-side comparison.
Summary – Metal Ceramic vs Zirconia
Metal ceramic is made of porcelain fused onto a metal base, whereas zirconia is made up of tiny white crystals named zirconia crystals that contain zirconium dioxide. The key difference between metal ceramic and zirconia is that zirconia is lighter and stronger than metal-ceramic.
1. “Zirconia.” Zirconia – an Overview | ScienceDirect Topics.
1. “Metallfreie Brücke Zirkoniumdioxid 2012 PD 1” By Bin im Garten – Own work (CC BY-SA 3.0) via Commons Wikimedia
2. “Single Unit Zirconia Anterior Dental Crown” By James Roback, UticaDentalLab – Own work (CC BY-SA 4.0) via Commons Wikimedia