ceramic restorations

Extreme care must be taken when grinding and polishing ceramic restorations. Excessive trauma, vibration or heat may cause microcracks to develop in the ceramic. The microcracks may propagate and lead to ceramic chipping or to the catastrophic failure of ceramic restorations.

Follow these steps to minimize the probability of cracks forming in your ceramic restorations. Keep in mind that electric handpieces are more efficient than air turbines because they maintain their torque at slow speeds.

Steps for adjusting ceramic restorations

  1. Use a slow speed friction grip handpiece operated at a maximum speed of 20,000 rpm. An example of this is the Brasseler TiMax X20L, which is a 1:1 ratio slow speed electric handpiece attachment.
  2. Use a fine or extra fine diamond bur only! A good example is Brasseler Dialite Diamonds 8369 DF 025 or 8369 DEF 025. (Figure 1)
  3. Use air and water spray to keep the diamond and ceramic cool.
  4. Use a light touch. Let the torque of the handpiece and bur do the cutting.

ceramic restorations image 2

Steps for polishing ceramic restorations

  1. Use a slow speed latch hand-piece attachment run at a maximum speed of 10,000 rpm. An example of this is the Brasseler TiMax X25L. (Figure 2)
  2. Use a light touch to avoid generating heat.
  3. Use a medium grit rubber polisher for initial polishing. An example of this is Brasseler Dialite LD W18 MLD Knife, W17 MLD Cup, W16 MLD Point. (Figure 3)
  4. Follow with a fine grit rubber polisher for high sheen. An example of this is Brasseler Dialite LD W18 FLD knife, W17 FLD Cup, W16 FLD Point.

By following these steps, you will find that adjusting and polishing ceramic restorations is very efficient and induces minimal trauma to the ceramic.


Commenter's Profile Image Muna Strasser
October 17th, 2014
Bob, thank you again for this extremely helpful advice. It has completely changed the way I adjust and seat restorations, from the first time you told me about it back when I took Restorative Design years ago. This is one of the best pearls for everyone!!!
Commenter's Profile Image Ahmad Fayad
October 19th, 2014
Thanks for the valuable advise. What kind of articulating paper do you use for your ceramic restorations?
Commenter's Profile Image Bob Winter
October 20th, 2014
Hi, I use AccuFilm II articulating paper to mark occlusal contacts. I also place a very small amount also Vaseline on the paper so it leaves the articulating marks on the glazed ceramic.
Commenter's Profile Image Bob Hludzinski
October 24th, 2014
What about removing excess and smoothing gum line areas.... Is a fine diamond on a high speed ok there???
Commenter's Profile Image Bob Winter
October 25th, 2014
Hi Bob: I personally would never use a diamond or carbide bur to remove flash at a margin because of the difficulty of trying to re-polish at or below the tissue. Use a sharp scaler/curette or Bard-Parker blade to remove excess composite.