Leslie Tentinger could tell something had happened the moment her crown broke.
"I was just chewing and all the sudden it wasn't gum, it was just crunchy and I thought oh no!" Tentinger said.
A broken crown can be a pain in your mouth and your pocketbook. But this time, Tentinger is getting something new: an unbreakable crown.
"No matter what I do, this crown is not going to break," Dr. Terri Alani said.
To demonstrate, Dr. Alani took a hammer to a regular crown and the latest kind, which is made of a material called zirconia. The result? Pieces flew off the regular crown, but not the zirconia crown. It remained in tact.
"This basically changes dentistry in the sense that the crown no longer can break," Dr. Alani said.
Zirconia, which is also known as ceramic steel, is really hard. That makes it especially good for back molars and for people who grind their teeth.
"Many patients grind their teeth so I would say a large majority of our patients would find this helpful. And this is the same material they use for hip replacements," Dr. Alani said.
And since the new crowns are made entirely with zirconia, they're the same color inside and out.
The zirconia crown is milled at a Houston lab.
In minutes, Tentinger got her new crown.
"It's really good," Tentinger said.
The zirconia crowns cost about the same as traditional porcelain crowns, between $800-$1,200.
Take ABC13 with you!
Download our free apps for iPhone, iPad, Android and Blackberry devices