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Dental Material Selection

Trusted digital dental material selection to make your job easier

in indirect dental procedures

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About Digital Dental Material Selection

State-of-the-art digital dental materials from 3M offer an advanced process for efficiently and accurately fabricating dental crowns, inlays, onlays, bridges and veneers for a range of dental restoration procedures. Our chairside and laboratory digital dental materials and equipment—including new 3M™ Lava™ Esthetic Fluorescent Full-Contour Zirconia for durable, natural-looking full-contour restorations—help you create strong, high quality, esthetically pleasing restorations.

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Available options and selection criteria in indirect procedures

Dental material selection is one of the most crucial factors in indirect restorative dentistry and it needs to be done before anything else. To tailor the restoration individually to the indication and the patient´s needs, multiple clinical and material associated parameters have to be considered.

Depending on the clinical case, esthetics or strenght should be taken into account. The main options nowadays include silicate ceramics and oxide ceramics. In any case, the ultimate ambition should always be to save as much natural tooth structure as possible.
The most important properties of ceramics are listed in the table below.

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Available options and selection criteria in indirect procedures
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Table 1: Different ceramic materials and their relevant properties for material selection.
1 Values for specific material according to manufacturer recommendation. All other recommendations and ratings are based on the expert consensus of the five clinicians.


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Parameters for dental material selection

The influencing parameters for materials selection can be divided into two sub-categories.

  • Clinical parameters

    • Destruction of tooth/remaining healthy tooth structure
    • Antagonist (material/natural)
    • Tooth position
    • Bonding possibilities
    • Patient’s esthetic demands
    • Functional aspects (occlusion, canine guidance)
  • Material-related parameters

    • Mechanical properties (strength)
    • Optical properties (esthetic potential)
    • Minimal wall thickness
    • Wear behavior
    • Bonding possibilities

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Decision-making

Crucial factors for the decision are the esthetic demands on one hand and the forces the restoration has to withstand on the other. While the esthetic demand is mainly determined by the location of the restoration in the patient’s mouth, it is the position, the substrate and the indication determining the required strength of a material. Selecting the appropriate option for each of the three colored circles shown in selection wheel will result in a recommendation regarding the best suitable material class.

  • Selection wheel

    Decision criteria and distinctive factors guiding material choice. Based on the case-specific  selection of one factor per circle, it will be possible to choose the most suitable material class.

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Selection wheel

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Material Selection - Clinical Examples

  • Clinical Case 1

    Clinical Case 1

    In the anterior region, esthetic demands are particularly high. Therefore, layered feldspathic ceramic crowns or hand-veneered copings made of a stronger material (e.g. 3Y-TZP Zirconia, lithium disilicate) are usually selected. Since porcelain layering is rarely associated with chipping in the anterior region, these options can be recommended in this context.

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  • Veneer preparation on the left central incisor and crown preparation on the left lateral incisor.

    Veneer preparation on the left central incisor and crown preparation on the left lateral incisor.

  • Treatment result with a veneer made of feldspathic ceramic and a handveneered crown with a coping made of 3M™ Lava™ Frame Zirconia.

    Treatment result with a veneer made of feldspathic ceramic and a handveneered crown with a coping made of 3M™ Lava™ Frame Zirconia.

  • Translucency of the restorations and the adjacent teeth in transmitted blue light.

    Translucency of the restorations and the adjacent teeth in transmitted blue light. (Images courtesy of Dr. Carlos Eduardo Sabrosa)

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  • Clinical Case 2

    Clinical Case 2

    The use of monolithic restorations in the anterior region is often limited by the esthetic appearance and demand.
    However, the increased chipping risk reported in many countries has caused the current trend towards monolithic restorations in the premolar and molar region. Suitable options for minimally invasive monolithic restorations can be for example translucent 3Y-TZP Zirconia or even more translucent 5Y-TZP Zirconia (5-mol% yttria stabilized tetragonal full-contour zirconia polycrystal) materials. Besides their non-chipping effect and their low minimum wall thickness, monolithic restorations also offer the benefit of a more efficient production procedure.

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  • Crown preparation in the posterior region.

    Crown preparation in the posterior region.

  • Monolithic crown made of 3M™ Lava™ Esthetic Fluorescent Full-Contour Zirconia in place.

    Monolithic crown made of 3M™ Lava™ Esthetic Fluorescent Full-Contour Zirconia in place.

  • Lateral view of the monolithic crown on the first molar (left).  Photograph taken under UV light: The zirconia material shows a tooth like fluorescence (right).*

    Lateral view of the monolithic crown on the first molar (left).  Photograph taken under UV light: The zirconia material shows a tooth like fluorescence (right).*  (Images courtesy of PD Dr. Jan-Frederik Güth and MDT Hans-Jürgen Stecher) * Fluorescence determined with light sources simulating natural UV light.


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  • Key messages for Material Selection

    Key messages for Material Selection*

    • The material selection should be based on the idea of minimal invasivess, which should be the underlying principle of every dental treatment.
    • Saving treatment time by using high-quality materials results in a more effective procedure, which is much more cost-effective than reducing the material cost.
    • Silicate ceramics or hand-veneered zirconia restorations fulfil the higher esthetic restorations in the anterior region.
    • Monolithic restorations and high-strength ceramics offer the benefit of a more efficient production procedure.
    • Standardization of procedures leads to a minimized error-risk

    *Recommendations based on the expert consensus of the five clinicians


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Chairside Digital Dental Materials

See how we can help you impress your patients with chairside restorations that are both lifelike and long-lasting. Plus, our digital dentistry materials are designed for efficiency – to help keep your day on track.

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Laboratory Digital Dental Materials

See how we can help you produce high-quality restorations while improving productivity. Our digital dentistry materials are designed to work with open architecture milling systems – and to help you produce more batches per day.

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  • Improve your total indirect procedure in just 7 steps

    Indirect restorative procedures are highly complex. They consist of many different clinical and laboratory steps, and each separate step involves a number of clinical challenges. That's why 3M has worked with five expert clinicians to develop a consensus for best-practice recommendations in prosthodontics. These are based on the latest scientific research findings and personal long-term experience in clinical environments.

    Learn more about Success Simplified- indirect workflow procedures

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