Zirconia: Taking Dental Restorations to the Next Level
Since the introduction of porcelain-fused-to-metal (PFM) crowns in the 1960s, the dental industry has sought materials with both the esthetic value of porcelain, and the strength of noble metals to withstand the pressure of posterior occlusal forces.
Glass-ceramic materials that came along in the 1980s were confined to use on anterior teeth. In the early 2000s, researchers found that a toughened version of the metal zirconia met the strength requirements needed for posterior teeth, although the esthetics of the material left much to be desired.
Today, with improved technology, zirconia now rivals PFMs and all-ceramic restorations both for strength and beauty.
A member of the titanium family of metals, zirconia has multi-industry uses and is ideal for use in both anterior and posterior crowns where it fulfills functional requirements and can be custom shaded for quality esthetics.
Zirconia is now the preferred material for crown and bridge fabrication, including implant-supported restorations. These are replacing metal-based restoration as the choice of most dentists, lab technicians, and patients. Because it can withstand occlusal forces without causing wear on opposing teeth, the material has quickly replaced full-metal and PFM’s as the material of choice.
Traditional impressions or digital impressions can be used with equal success.
As with all new materials and technology, dental zirconia does have its drawbacks.
Many dentists are hesitant to use zirconia because there are fewer long-term research studies to assess its properties and compare the longevity of the material to gold, porcelain, and lithium disilicate. However, the studies completed thus far all reflect positively on the future of zirconia crowns.
There is also a lack of ability to bond the material to the preps. Though, that might be seen as an advantage by some, since only cement is needed to permanently seat the restoration. The hardness, while certainly considered one of zirconia’s advantages, might be a disadvantage when having to remove or access through them for endodontic treatment.
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Chairside adjustments, while usually minimal, must be made safely, using diamond burs at slow speed with copious amounts of water, polishing wheels, and cones specifically designed for use with zirconia.
Do not use carbide burs or diamonds at high-speed for adjustments due to microscopic fractures that can occur from the impact of the burs on the material.
Ready to Try?
The future of zirconia use in dentistry is unlimited.
Gold and other noble metals used for decades are slowly dying out due to not only prohibitive cost, but also lack of demand by consumers. Zirconia more than fills that gap.
Researchers continually improve the translucency of these restorations, making them legitimate rivals to all-ceramic for beauty and surpassing other dental materials for strength and durability.
Here are First Choice Dental Lab, we specialize in all types of zirconia restorations, including full-contour and esthetic anterior.
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Pre shaded zirconia has become popular with dental laboratories due to the time-savings and shade consistency the base shade provides. With pre-shaded zirconia there is no need for laboratory technicians to shade each unit in the green stage, saving production time and freeing them up to produce more units. However, standard pre-shaded zirconia systems require the dental laboratory to stock an inventory of 16 shades, each in a large selection of disc thicknesses to cover all unit shades and sizes. Furthermore, you can mill only one shade at a time, thus tying up your mill.
Production of Glass Ceramic Materials
Glass ceramic components are formed using the same processes that are applicable to glass components. To convert them from a vitreous glass material into a crystalline glass ceramic material they must be heat treated or devitrified.
Acetal dental can also be used for tooth shaded clasps on acrylic partials as well as a single and two tooth posterior unilateral partials. The latter situation is a great way to make an interim partial for a patient having implants placed.
Roland DGA Corporation’s three Diamond-Coated Dental Milling Burs, meant to be used with Roland’s DXW-50 zirconia milling machine, are specially engineered for precise performance, maximum durability, and longer life. Extensively tested for tolerances, Roland’s new milling burs are available in three different sizes – 2 mm, 1 mm and 0.8 mm – allowing dental professionals to choose an ideal tool for every milling strategy.