Recently, we have made great strides in dental materials, with many new and exciting types of ceramics becoming available for use in restorations like crowns, inlays, and onlays. This is good because it gives us more options for restoring your smile, but it also comes with anxiety, because these new materials haven’t been around as long so they’re kind of unknown. It’s hard for patients to decide which one to use.

But what would dentists, who have experience working with all these materials, choose to put in their own mouths?

A Survey of Dentists

For the first time this year, the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD) asked its members this very question: what material they would put in their own mouths, and the dentists responded:

  • Lithium disilicate 84%
  • Zirconia 58%
  • Hybrid ceramic resin 22%
  • Metal ceramic 18%

Even if you never excelled at math, you’ve probably noticed that the percentages add up to more than 100%. That’s because dentists were allowed to choose more than one answer. This means that dentists aren’t just naming their favorite: they’re naming all the materials they would find acceptable. Here’s a brief explanation of the materials and why dentists might or might not choose them.

Lithium Disilicate

This material is the clear winner, and it’s easy to see why: it has it all. Lithium disilicate is significantly stronger than previous ceramics, so it can actually stand up to most challenging situations without fracturing. This means longer-lasting dental restorations and fewer early failures.

And even more importantly, lithium disilicate has the natural translucency to really mimic natural tooth enamel, so you get dental restorations that are both strong and attractive. The best all-around dental material for most applications.


Zirconia is, hands down, the strongest dental material available. In fact, it’s so strong that it can take the place of titanium so that we can offer metal-free dental implants.

The only problem with zirconia is that it’s less capable of mimicking natural tooth material. It’s a bright white and less translucent than natural enamel, so it stands out. If you’re looking for the most attractive result, zirconia isn’t the right choice. But if you’re looking for the absolute strongest ceramic crown: zirconia’s your choice.

Hybrid Ceramic Resin

This material blends ceramics and plastics to give dental crowns what they sometimes need: flexibility. The goal is allowing them to bend so that they don’t break.

This technology hasn’t taken off, though, because it’s been overshadowed by the purer ceramics. Some dentists like this material, but others have not had quality results with them.

Metal Ceramic

Metal ceramic materials are porcelain-fused-to-metal restorations. These had a big role to play when ceramics were not strong enough to stand on their own, but they have fallen out of favor as ceramics have taken over the role.

We Restore Your Teeth as if They Were Our Own

When you see a cosmetic dentist at Smile Columbia Dentistry, one thing we can guarantee is that whatever restoration you receive, it’s something we would be fully comfortable placing in our own teeth. You will never receive substandard care at our practice.

To learn more about your options for reconstructive and cosmetic dentistry in Columbia, SC, please call  

(803) 781-9090for an appointment.