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25 Feb 2016 | Press Release

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Full Contour Zirconia: Clinically Safe, Biocompatible and No Chipping

Research Zirconia CEREC

Zirconium dioxide has been successfully used in dentistry for about 20 years. The majority are restorations with zirconia frameworks and ceramic veneers.


For the past six years, fully anatomical zirconium dioxide (full contour zirconia) has been increasingly used for restorations (crowns and bridges).1-3 The results from in vitro tests show that with the prerequisite of a professional polish, fully anatomically shaped, non-veneered zirconia crowns and bridges are suitable for dentures. In this case, the high-performance material replaces the expensive metal casting process. In scientific literature, the material is mainly studied for its physical properties (hardness, bending and fracture strength, as well as visual appearance). As a result, monolithic zirconia significantly improved the fracture toughness of endontically treated premolars to the level of healthy teeth.4

The areas of application for zirconia are determined by medical need, as well as the wishes of the patient (cost, metal free). Zirconia is very positively rated as a framework material, in addition to its excellent suitability for producing abutments (and the suprastructure) for implants. The production of primary and secondary crowns made of zirconium dioxide by a CAD/CAM (computer aided design/computer aided manufacturing) system helps to simplify manufacturing processes and reduce costs.6,7 For restorations, its application is seen in all areas except the anterior region, including for patients with bruxism.

In addition to sturdiness, the focus of clinical studies is above all on questions regarding abrasion of antagonists, as well as the long-term behavior of the material in the patient's mouth. Here it became clear that the surface roughness of the restoration is crucial: Non-veneered, monolithic zirconia did not abrade the enamel of the antagonist when the crown surface of the restoration was free of sanding marks and has been professionally polished; therefore, the abrasion behavior is not affected by hardness, but rather by surface finish.8-11 In addition, monolithic zirconia displayed less depth of wear on the tooth enamel compared to glass-ceramic restorations.12-14 Compared to veneered zirconium dioxide, full contour zirconia has a decisive advantage: It tends not to chip.15

  1. Schweiger J, Beuer F, Stimmelmayr M, Edelhoff D: Moderne Wege zum Implantat-Abutment. Zahnärztl Mitteilungen 2012, 20: 54-63.
  2. Degidi M, Artese L, Scarano A, Perrotti V, Gehrke P, Piattelli A: Inflammatory infiltrate, microvessel density, nitric oxide synthase expression, vascular endothelial growth factor expression, and proliferative activity in peri-implant soft tissues around titanium and zirconium oxide healing caps. J Periodontal 2006; 77: 73-80.
  3. Beuer F, Schweiger J, Edelhoff D: Digital dentistry; an overview of recent developments for CAD/CAM generated restorations. Br Dent J 2008; 204: 505-511.
  4. Mynampati P, Babu MR, Saraswathi DD, Kumar JR, Gudugunta L, Gaddam D. Comparison of fracture resistance and failure pattern of endodontically treated premolars with different esthetic onlay systems: An in vitro study. J Conserv Dent;18:140-3. Available from: http://www.jcd.org.in/text.asp?2015/18/2/140/153072
  5. Carames, Int J Dent. 2015; 2015:392496. doi: 10.1155/2015/392496. Epub 2015 Jun 1
  6. Int J Comput Dent. 2014;17(4):307-16.; Computer-aided fabrication of a zirconia 14-unit removable dental prosthesis: a technical report.; Grösser J, Sachs C, Stadelmann M, Schweiger J, Güthe JF, Beuer F.
  7. Chen Y et al, West China Journal of Stomatology [2014, 32(3):256-258]: Clinical evaluation of zirconia crowns for single posterior teeth: http://europepmc.org/abstract/med/25033641
  8. Heintze SD, Rousson V. Int J Prosthodont. 2010 Nov-Dec;23(6):493-502. Review. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21209982
  9. Hmaidouch R et al, Int J Oral Sci. 2014 Dec;6(4):241-6. doi:10.1038/ijos.2014.34. Epub 2014 Jul 25.; Surface roughness of zirconia for full-contour crowns after clinically simulated grinding and polishing. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25059249
  10. Preis V et al, J Dent. 2012 Nov;40(11):921-8. doi: 10.1016/j.jdent.2012.07.010. Epub 2012 Jul 24. In vitro failure and fracture resistance of veneered and full-contour zirconia restorations. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22835417
  11. Preis V (2015), Journal of Mechanical Behavior Biomedical Materials, August 2015; Cycle-dependent in vitro wear performance of dental ceramics after clinical surface treatments): http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26313248
  12. Sripetchdamond J 2014, Journal of Prosthetic Dentistry, November 2014; Wear of human enamel opposing monolithic zirconia, glass ceramic, and composite resin: an in vitro study: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24980740
  13. Mundhe K 2015, Journal of Prosthetic Dentistry, September 2015; Clinical study to evaluate the wear of natural enamel antagonist to zirconia and metal ceramic crowns: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25985742
  14. Clark et al., 2012; Janyavula et al., 2012; Luangruaangrong et al.,2012; Rosentritt et al., 2012; Stawarczyk et al., 2012:
  15. Kern M zm 103, Nr. 4 A, 16.2.2013, (332-336) http://www.zmonline.de/hefte/Neue-Werkstoffe-und-Verfahren-fuer-die-CAD-CAM-Restauration_100269.html#1

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