In the background, a smiling woman on a laptop. In the foreground, an ipad with the white paper.

Zirconia is often presented as a single dental material, though as Dr. Dennis Fasbinder explains in Spear's latest clinical white paper, different formulations have evolved with varying polycrystalline structures and physical properties.

Dr. Fasbinder explains that “an understanding of the various types of zirconia materials will aid in making informed clinical decisions to promote the desired clinical outcome for the case,” due to the rapid advancement in materials and the “significant difference in the ensuing physical properties of newer zirconia formulations.”

The new white paper, “Zirconia Restorations: Evolution and Innovation” presents a history of zirconia materials and examines their evolution, strength, opacity and the options available to dentists today based on specific properties and performance.

“The evolution of full contour zirconia illustrates the continued effort to improve the material for expanding clinical applications,” Dr. Fasbinder said in the white paper.

“The high strength properties of the initial 3 mol% zirconia are very desirable to clinicians since it prevents the most common failure of glass ceramics: chipping and fracture,” he wrote.

In the white paper, Dr. Fasbinder explains how newer zirconia materials continue to improve the translucency and esthetic outcomes, but that “there is a significant difference in the ensuing physical properties of newer zirconia formulations,” which begs further studies and literature.

Restorative dentists and their teams can review the white paper for details on zirconia microstructure, monolithic restorations, material strength, esthetics and surface wear.

Dr. Fasbinder is Director of the Computerized Dentistry Program and a clinical professor in the Department of Cardiology, Restorative Sciences and Endodontics at University of Michigan School of Dentistry.