Zirconia Vs. Porcelain Fused To Metal Crowns For Dental Implants

5 January 2022
 Categories: Dentist, Blog


Dental implants are titanium dental devices that are surgically implanted into a patient's jaw in order to act as a substitute tooth root. Once implanted, the patient must allow time for the device to become osseointegrated into the jawbone, meaning the titanium post will fuse to the bone for maximum strength and durability. Once the implant is osseointegrated, the procedure can then be completed with the addition of a dental crown to mimic the look and function of the missing tooth.

Two popular materials for dental implant crowns are zirconia and porcelain fused to metal, also known as PFM. If you're in need of a dental implant, how do you decide which material is best for your needs? Here are the pros and cons of zirconia vs. PFM crowns in order to complete your dental implant procedure.


Same-Day Application

One major advantage of zirconia crowns for your implants is a quicker application process. That's because zirconia crowns, unlike porcelain, can often be prepared and applied by your dentist while you're in the chair rather than waiting for the porcelain crowns to be created in a dental lab.

Very Durable

Zirconia is one of the strongest non-metallic materials for crowns and the least likely to split or crack when subjected to strong forces. When properly cared for, a zirconia crown is extremely durable and can last 10 to 15 years.


One major reason that zirconia is becoming increasingly popular as a material for crowns is its biocompatibility, meaning that the material is less likely to provoke a negative immune response or cause inflammation than some other crown materials like metal.


Hard To Match

One of the biggest disadvantages of choosing zirconia crowns, despite their durability, is that it can be harder to match the material to the color and look of any existing teeth surrounding the implant. If you're worried about your implant looking conspicuous and unnatural, zirconia may not be the best option for you.

Possible Discomfort and Wear

Another concern with zirconia is that the durability and hardness of the material may wear on the teeth next to the implant and crown, causing discomfort, friction, and damage to the surrounding teeth. This is certainly something to consider when making your choice.


Most Natural Look

The biggest advantage of choosing porcelain fused to metal crowns is that they look more like natural teeth than other options, even zirconia. It's still difficult to achieve the tooth-like sheen and reflective qualities with other materials that porcelain naturally achieves. For those that want the most natural-looking smile, particularly if your implant is one of your front teeth, porcelain is often the best bet for the most natural smile.

Best Fit and Comfort

Because PFM crowns have a metal structure under the porcelain exterior and that structure attaches to the implant, there is an increased chance of a snug fit with less chance of discomfort.


Because of the cost-effectiveness of the materials involved, PFM crowns are typically more affordable than choosing zirconia. You can generally expect to pay between $1000 and $1500 per PFM crown as opposed to $1000 to $2500 per crown for zirconia. 


Longer Process

Most PFM crowns are created off-site in a dental lab and that means your implant process will take a little longer and with more visits to your dentist than if you choose to go with zirconia crowns that can be created in office.

Possible Allergic Reactions

Because PFM crowns have metal attachments, some patients may be susceptible to allergic reactions to the metal materials. If you typically have reactions to metals, you might want to consider an alternative crown material for your implant.