Duration: 47 minutes, 49 seconds

Author: Dr. Anas Aloum, Dr. Mamaly Reshad

Which Ceramic Should I Use? A Clinical Perspective Part 1

Which Ceramic Should I Use? A Clinical Perspective Part 1

The Overwhelming Amount of Restorative Materials Available

Restorative dentistry has come a long way, and with that progress comes a plethora of materials to choose from. In 2011, the field faced an overwhelming amount of options for ceramic restorations. Prosthodontists from the University of Southern California recognize this challenge and have set out to provide a systematic solution to choose the best material for each clinical situation.

The Need for Updated Information

It is important to note that the information provided in this article may need updating, as the world of dentistry is constantly evolving. However, the principles and concepts shared by these prosthodontists will give you a solid foundation to build upon. Regardless of the ever-changing landscape, one thing remains constant – the importance of knowledge and skills in achieving successful restorations.

Emphasizing the Importance of Knowledge and Skills

Before diving into the specific recommendations for ceramic materials, it is crucial to highlight the significance of expertise in this field. Choosing the right material is only one piece of the puzzle; knowing how to properly handle and manipulate the chosen material is equally important. The success of a restoration ultimately lies in the hands of the operator and technician.

Examples of Successful Restorations

To illustrate the power of proper knowledge and skills, the prosthodontists showcase examples of successful restorations using all-ceramic crowns. These restorations not only provide excellent esthetics but also demonstrate the strength and durability of modern ceramic materials when used correctly.

The Failure of a Porcelain Infused to Metal Crown

On the other hand, the prosthodontists discuss a case where a porcelain infused to metal crown failed. Upon close examination, it became evident that the failure was not due to the material itself but rather the improper skills of the operator and technician. This serves as a stark reminder that choosing the right ceramic material is not enough; the execution of the restoration plays a vital role in its long-term success.

The Solution: Choosing the Best Ceramic Material

Now that we understand the importance of knowledge and skills, let’s delve into the process of choosing the best ceramic material for each clinical situation. The prosthodontists present a systematic approach that takes into account various factors such as aesthetics, strength, durability, and compatibility with the patient’s oral environment.

Considerations for Aesthetic Restorations

One of the primary concerns for many patients is the esthetic outcome of their restorations. In cases where esthetics play a significant role, the prosthodontists recommend using high-translucency zirconia or lithium disilicate ceramics. These materials offer excellent esthetics with good mechanical properties to ensure a long-lasting and natural-looking result.

Focus on Strength and Durability

For cases where strength and durability are paramount, the prosthodontists suggest considering materials such as zirconia or layered ceramics with a strong substructure. These materials can withstand the forces of mastication and provide long-term functionality without compromising on esthetics.

Compatibility with Oral Environment

Every patient has a unique oral environment, and it is crucial to choose a ceramic material that is compatible with it. Factors such as occlusal forces, parafunctional habits, and potential chemical interactions should be taken into account. The prosthodontists emphasize the need for a comprehensive evaluation before determining the most suitable material.


Choosing the right ceramic material for each clinical situation is not a decision to be taken lightly. It requires a deep understanding of the available options, as well as the individual patient’s needs and oral environment. By prioritizing knowledge and skills, prosthodontists can achieve successful restorations that not only meet the patient’s esthetic expectations but also provide long-term functionality and durability.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Are all-ceramic restorations more expensive than traditional metal-based restorations?

No, the cost of all-ceramic restorations can vary depending on multiple factors such as the specific material chosen, the complexity of the case, and the expertise of the dental professional. It is best to consult with your dentist to discuss the cost implications of different treatment options.

2. Can all-ceramic restorations break easily?

Modern ceramic materials, when used properly and combined with appropriate techniques, exhibit excellent strength and durability. However, it is essential to follow good oral hygiene practices and avoid excessive forces on the restorations to minimize the risk of fractures.

3. How long do ceramic restorations typically last?

The longevity of ceramic restorations depends on various factors, including the patient’s oral hygiene habits, their diet, and the quality of the dental work performed. With proper care and regular dental check-ups, ceramic restorations can last for many years, often exceeding a decade in lifespan.

4. Can I switch from a metal-based restoration to an all-ceramic one?

In many cases, it is possible to replace a metal-based restoration with an all-ceramic one. However, this decision should be made based on a comprehensive evaluation by a dental professional. They will assess the feasibility and potential benefits of such a transition, taking into account the specific requirements of your case.

5. How do I find a prosthodontist who specializes in ceramic restorations?

When searching for a prosthodontist who specializes in ceramic restorations, it is recommended to seek referrals from your general dentist or ask for recommendations from friends and family. Additionally, professional organizations such as the American College of Prosthodontists can provide a list of certified specialists in your area.

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