WHAT IS ZIRCONIA?
No company holds the trademark for “Zirconia”, because it is actually Zirconium and Zirconium is a naturally occurring mineral. It’s a byproduct resulting from the mining and processing of heavy-mineral sands for the titanium and other metallic minerals. The symbol is Zr and the atomic number 40 on the periodic table.
ARE ALL BRANDS THE SAME?
NO, all Zirconia IS NOT the same!
The fact is; most companies that “manufacture” medical-grade Zirconia would prefer that everyone not know that almost all of them buy their refined powder from Tosoh Corporation. They each use their own proprietary ‘recipes’ and processes to convert the powder and other additives into a solid block of Zirconia that can then be milled into a dental restoration. So really, the only difference that any company can claim is that their additives, or their manufacturing methods are better than someone else’s methods, or additives, etc.
ARE SOME BRANDS STRONGER THAN OTHER BRANDS?
It’s very possible that some are, but that’s truly irrelevant. Any company’s Zirconia can fail if it’s milled or fired incorrectly. But, when it’s not compromised by substandard methods milling or processing, ALL Zirconia is so strong that it will NEVER fail in a ‘compression contest’ with opposing dentition.
SO WHY DO SOME DENTISTS AND LABS PREFER A PARTICULAR BRAND?
The preferences that some dentists and labs have for a particular brand are usually based on the subjective characteristics such as translucency (for full-contour or covering a dark prep), availability of shades, accuracy of shades, the lead time for the milled coping, etc.
We have three primary suppliers for Zirconia (and others if needed), because all Zirconia is not the same! So we use the Zirconia that we think will best meet the requirements for each case – which allows us the best chance to give each dentist EXACTLY what they expect to see in the finished case. And, if a dentist doesn’t have a preference, then we make the decision as to which Zirconia and which porcelain we should use on a case-by-case basis.