Category Archives: SCIENCE


Slow cooling protocol improves fatigue life of zirconia restorations

One of the newer restorative materials used today in dentistry is zirconia.  Zirconia has been used as a biomaterial for over 25 years.  What Future for Zirconia as a Biomaterial? Although much has been written about zirconia, there is surprisingly little clinical research in the field of dentistry.  The lack of research has created some challenges with understanding this material.

 As mentioned, zirconia has a long history of use in the medical field but is relatively new to dentistry.  Why has zirconia become popular in dentistry?  There are some driving factors behind the increased popularity of zirconia. 

In dentistry the standard of care for dental restorations has been gold and gold alloys.  Gold alloys can have porcelain veneered to the outside to make tooth colored restorations.  Gold prices have skyrocketed recently which has caused dentists to seek out less expensive alternatives.

The use of CAD/CAM technology has increased within dentistry.  Dentists and labs are increasingly turning to this technology to replace tasks that were traditionally done by hand. Zirconia can be milled (CAM=computer aided milling) easier than other restorative materials. Zirconia  milled for industrial applications has been used since the late 1970’s,  with widespread use since the 1990’s.  The mills used today for dental applications were originally developed for industrial uses.  These industrial machines and methods have been adapted to suit the dental profession.  Millions of zirconia dental restorations have been fabricated worldwide using machines and methods based on industrial technology and experience. 

This excellent article addresses some of the common problems with zirconia restorations.  Understanding the problems associated with zirconia allows me to use this material more comfortably in the proper situation.  This can be said for all the restorative materials I use.

I cautiously use zirconia restorations.  Like all of the restorations I make, I want to be aware of current research so I can be comfortable using newer materials.  I never want to use a material solely because it is popular.  I want to make sure my choice is evidence based.

Slow cooling protocol improves fatigue life of zirconia restorations. [pdf]