Zirconia Powders and Performance: Know Your Products

Zirconia Powders and Performance: Know Your Products

The Danger of  Suboptimal Zirconia

Unfortunately, the dental industry cannot depend on all zirconia sources, as there is a wide variation in quality and consistency between global manufacturers. For example, without a superior homogeneous mixture of the yttria used to increase strength and fracture toughness in the zirconia, the potential for immediate failure of crowns and bridges is increased greatly. Another issue is the purity of the zirconia powders, with contaminants such as lead, zinc, tin, insects, plant cellulose—even radioactivity—degrading some of the cheaper zirconia powder’s quality. Radioactivity in zirconia should not be overlooked.

Dentists may not be aware of this issue, even though they have the highest risk exposure in placing a zirconia restoration in a patient. A doctor should know the quality of what is essentially a medical device fixed in a patient’s oral cavity. One zirconia crown is not the same as another, and while technicians understand these differences, this knowledge is still being translated to the dentist, who may be focused on the price. However, patients with a failed restoration, or who have an allergic reaction to lead or other contaminations in the powder, will likely be extremely dissatisfied, costing the dental practice more time, money, and ultimately reputation.

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