What Are Dental Crowns Made of?

A CEREC machine, which creates dental crowns in-house

You’re taking the next step on your dental implant journey — the research phase. You might have already read about how implants provide a natural-looking appearance and life-long results with proper care.

We’ll cover what dental crowns are made of, specifically CEREC crowns and implants.

So, if you’re curious, read on to help you make the right RIGHT choice.

CEREC crowns

Chairside Economical Restoration of Esthetic Ceramic (CEREC) is a term that refers to a type of dental technology used to create crowns, inlays, onlays, and veneers. The CEREC machine creates the restoration in a matter of four to twenty minutes.

The first step of the process is digitally scanning the inside of your mouth to create a 3D model or replica. Our dentist will then insert a block of the desired material into the machine, which designs the crown using the inputted information.

This technology eliminates the need to send the crown to a lab since the machine allows our dentist to complete the entire process in-house.

Material options

Ultimately, you have two main material options when getting your dental crowns: zirconia or ceramic. How do these options compare, though?


Zirconia is a ceramic material composed of zirconium dioxide. Though it’s a tooth-colored substance that appears similar to your natural teeth, it’s not translucent like your own teeth. Therefore, our dentist often recommends it for back teeth.

It’s strong enough to withstand substantial amounts of force. While certain crown materials aren’t ideal for those who grind their teeth, this option can hold up to bruxism. With proper care, zirconia may sometimes last up to 20 years or even longer.

Fortunately, if you’re not replacing all your teeth or an entire arch, zirconia requires little room in between each tooth. Consequently, our dentist will only remove a thin layer of your surrounding teeth to position a zirconia crown.

While not a sizable difference, our dentist will remove less of your natural teeth, if keeping some of them, to place zirconia crowns than with ceramic.
Because of their benefits, zirconia crowns are more costly than ceramic.


If you choose ceramic CEREC crowns, you’ll receive crowns that are not only tooth-colored but are more translucent than zirconia, so they more closely resemble natural teeth.

This material is one hundred percent pure ceramic — a refined clay. It’s a durable material, usually lasting between five and fifteen years, depending on how well you care for it. Compared to other non-CEREC restorations, ceramic lasts longer, though not as long as zirconia.

Generally, ceramic doesn’t require a large portion of your natural teeth to be removed to place it beside your other teeth.

Though it depends on the extent of the damage, our dentist may be able to repair a ceramic crown. Remember that zirconia can also be repaired, so this factor shouldn’t be a deciding factor.

Final Thought

CEREC crowns and implants may be the confidence boost you need. Whether you choose ceramic or zirconia – or a non-CEREC option – depends on your desire, budget, and particular situation. Our dentist will assist you in the decision process.

While we serve residents of Pleasantville, NJ, we’re also conveniently located for those in Somers Point, Atlantic City, Ventnor City, Brigantine, Millville, and Ocean City.

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