Managing Multiple Zirconia Systems in Your Lab


With the recent advent of ZPEX Smile zirconia powder from Tosoh of Japan, it is now likely that most labs will be using multiple zirconia materials on a daily basis. These include the existing full contour material with a flexural strength of 1100 MPa, and the new ZPEX Smile with less strength but more a natural translucency. We will be providing bridgework using the original materials, and single crowns and small bridges with new materials such as cubeX² made from the new ZPEX Smile powder.

The new, highly esthetic zirconia materials like cubeX² are a major step forward for dental labs, dentists and patients. The manufacturing process for esthetic anterior restorations using full contour zirconia is very predictable, cost effective and is manufactured very economically. But, manufacturing two different zirconia materials in the lab does come with some challenges. Let’s take a look at what these challenges are, what’s needed and what is likely the best solution to the added problems of having multiple zirconia products in your lab.

First, when using white discs and a green state shading system, we all know the colorants look different when used on different zirconia discs. Meaning, a colorant labeled A2 will not produce a final shade close to A2 on all zirconia discs. As a result, it is likely that different shading kits for different discs will be needed. Furthermore, managing to keep multiple materials and the crowns organized once milled prior to shading, while using multiple shading systems complicates the process even more. Another problem, not all zirconia materials are sintered at the same temperature. This may result in needing a second sintering furnace or a comprehensive plan as to when and how you fire each material. In some cases the firing tray and beads may also have an impact on the quality of the sintered crowns and thus will require separate firing trays for each material. All of these unique handling features and complexities will definitely lead to complications, remarks and frustration. Wouldn’t it be great to have both a high strength and high translucent discs that can be processed exactly the same?

CAP has worked to eliminate all the above problems when working with these two different zirconia materials. With the help of Dental Direkt and our other manufacturer, we now have two zirconia materials, cubeX² and CAP Z-Complete, that will work in the same workflow. cubeX² is the super translucent material and Z-Complete is high strength bridge zirconia. The effort put forth has provided multiple materials that can be colored using the cubeX² colorants, fired using the same program as well as fired in the same cycle and tray. To me, this is the ultimate solution for manufacturing two distinctly different materials with a single process. In conclusion, when introducing a second type of zirconia to your lab consider the impact of being able to maintain a single workflow. For ease of use i see it as imperative to have one workflow for handling zirconia.

For a limited time CAP is offering a combo starter kit that contains both cubeX²  and Z-Complete discs, as well a complete coloring kit. And yes, both are handled exactly the same.

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Thanks for reading,

Bob Cohen, CDT

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