Zirconia (Zirconium Oxide) is an extremely hard natural mineral. It is far harder and more durable that a natural tooth. It is an ideal material from which to make dental crowns. It will not wear or decay and yet it can be shaped to accommodate any circumstances.
Traditionally crowns need to be strengthened with an inner metal core so that they are able to withstand the pressures produced in everyday usage. This causes a problem however since light cannot pass through metal whereas a natural tooth is translucent. Because of this a Zirconium crown is indistinguishable from natural teeth even when examined very closely.
Zirconium crowns are perfect when used in conjunction with dental implants. We fit a zirconium abutment into the implant and then fix the crown onto it. The result is a new tooth that will look and perform better than your natural teeth ever did neither will they decay.
Over time natural teeth will wear and loose height. This can cause difficulties for the joint between the lower & upper jaw bones (TMJ). You may come to notice a 'clicking' sensation as the result.
Crooked, twisted or mal-positioned teeth and those with large gaps between them can all be corrected with new zirconium crowns. This often involves no more than reshaping the natural tooth so that it can act as a locating post for the crown. In other cases however the natural tooth must be cut off at the gum line, the root hollowed out and a zirconium post cemented in place onto which the crown can be fixed (this is known as a 'post & core' build-up).
Bruxism is the term we use to describe the habitual grinding or clenching of your teeth - often at night. This can be highly destructive of your natural teeth. We usually see very badly worn, chipped and broken teeth as the result of bruxism. It can also cause head, face and neck pains. As part of the therapy for treating this condition we will often recommend fitting a form of Zirconium crown - "Prettau".
We first carry out any necessary preparatory work such as fitting the implants or shaping the natural teeth. We then make a scan of your mouth and using computer software we make a 3D computer model of your mouth which we can work with to make the ideal crowns.
Once we have an 'on screen' picture of the new crowns we want to make we use the computer software to make a trial version of the crown(s) from acrylic. We fit the acrylic crowns into your mouth and then make any necessary adjustments before remaking the crowns from Zirconium Oxide pellets. Our lab then prepares the final crowns for use before we fit them permanently.
Each Zirconium crown costs just 240 GBP - less than you will normally pay for an old style metal/ceramic crown back home. "Prettau" need a little more work and cost 260 GBP each.
We generally recommend patients to plan on arriving on a Sunday. All necessary work can usually be completed in time for you to fly home with your new smile on the Friday afternoon / evening.