Zirconia Crowns Vs Emax Crowns?

A year ago I placed 9 upper anterior Zirconia crowns. After 3 months, I could see a change, now, they don't look natural at all. I want to replace them & looking for the most natural/durable solution.. I've heard about emax, but are they the most suitable option? My questions are: -What is the most natural looking crowns taking into consideration durability; -Is there more than one type of Zirconia? What are they? what's the best, should I consider it? -How to clean crowns. any special toothpaste?

Doctor Answers 7

Zirconia Crowns Vs Emax Crowns?

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Thank you for your question. In general both are strong, where Zirconia is stronger. Emax usually looks better.It is not the material as much though that determines the look. It is a mastership and experience of a doctor and his technician, which makes you say "Wow!" when you smile and look in the mirrow.

Both materials can be used in a way that looks very natural. Think of it as a piece of jewerly. Would you want to buy a chip ring for your loved one or a custom made piece made by a master jeweler?

EMax for Front teeth but.....

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Cosmetically, for me in 2017, eMax is the winner and is stronger than other ceramics other than Zirconia. 

Zirconia is not a great cosmetic option unless strength is more important than the cosmetic outcome as it is a dull flat tooth shade that has to be stained or overlayed with eMax or porcelain to be acceptable.  

Most importantly, It will come down to who actually makes your crown that will give it the most cosmetic result so it is really up to the dentist and what they prefer and works best in their hands and/or with their lab technician and their abilities.

Emery Cole, DMD, FAGD
Birmingham Dentist

Which Crowns Look Best on Front Teeth

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Sorry you are not happy with the recent P2Z crowns you had done.  The changes you mentioned are unusual as porcelain restorations such as porcelain to zirconium or emax do not change in appearance, especially in a few months.  The most esthetic material is Empress in my experience.  Its limitation is it has a greater potential to chip or break compared to P2Z or Emax.  Emax has improved greatly in the last couple of years in how excellent labs are able to make it look and it is certainly more durable.

Zirconia vs E-max Anterior Crowns

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I very rarely use Zirconia Crowns on anterior teeth. They can never be as translucent looking as E-max, Empress or Feldspathic Crowns.

Jay Neuhaus, DDS
New York Dentist

Do Emax or Zirconia Look Most Natural for Crowns on Front Teeth?

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Hands down, Emax will look better than Zirconia.  Emax is a porcelain, Zirconia is actually a white metal covered over with porcelain.  Because the white metal on Zirconia crowns does not allow light to pass through it as naturally as the all ceramic Emax, Zirconia crowns often look flat and unnatural.  Technically, you should not get any staining on the surface of either provided the zirconia is covered with porcelain.  However, if the zirconia does not have a porcelain outer shell, you can expect it to stain somewhat depending on the kind of "bad things" you do (i.e. smoking, tea or coffee, cola, cigar, etc.).

In my professional opinion, a cosmetic dentist with 35 years experience, Emax would be the best restoration for most front crowns or porcelain veneers, it has the benefits of great fit, strength, longevity and appearance over Zirconia.

Norman Huefner, DDS
Laguna Niguel Dentist

Emax verse Zircronium crowns

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Neither material should change over time and certainly not in 3 months. Many times it will be doctors preference both should be able to do the job very nicely. You may also look into empress be aware of the trade off for appearance verses strength. Good Luck


Kevin Coughlin DMD MBA, MAGD   CEO Baystate Dental PC



Kevin Coughlin, DMD
Springfield Dentist

Zirconia vs. Emax...

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Sorry to hear about your feelings regarding the crowns you had done.

In order to answer the question lets first review the materials and how they are used.  Zirconia Oxide is a ceramic that is used to make the core of the crown or the full crown.  It comes in a few basic shades that can be stained.  If a full Zirconia crown is made then it has to be stained and that stain can theoretically wear off in some situations.  If Zirconia was only used as a core then the rest of the crown was built up with a porcelain and that is used to add the lifelike characterizations.

Emax crowns are made of LIthium silicate also a ceramic.  Emax is used to make a full crown and then if added aesthetics are required it is cutback and porcelain is added.

Emax is more translucent than most Zirconia and therefore lets in more light, if tooth under is dark and needs to be masked out often Zirconia is better.

Zirconia is also theoretically stronger than lithium silicate, but in both cases the hardness of the material is not relevant unless they are used without porcelain, as soon as we add porcelain that becomes the weakest link.

So to answer the question.  It may be possible that full contour Zirconia was used or external staining was used to characterize the crowns and may have worn off. 

The ideal use for Zirconia is where substrate it dark or extra strength is needed (full contour). Ideal use for Emax, high light transmission wanted and maximum aesthetics. 
Most natural looking crowns are the ones made by a great artist!!  It's not the material but rather the technician.


Dan Hagi, DDS
Toronto Dentist

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.