Are PFMs Still a Viable Treatment? Zirconia vs. PFM

mm Written by Andrew Sedler

Monolithic Zirconia restorations like ZIRMAX M by Burbank Dental Lab are among the most widely prescribed restorations and have been for more than a decade. Prior to the emergence of zirconia crowns, porcelain fused to metal crowns (PFM) was the leading restorative option.

While monolithic zirconia makes up the bulk of restorative options, there are still some areas where PFMs offer a better restorative solution.

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Monolithic Zirconia Restorations

A variety of metal-free ceramics have been developed to meet patient demands for natural-looking restorations. Zirconia’s biocompatibility, mechanical properties, and white color have made it a popular dental biomaterial.

ZIRMAX M and ZIRMAX ME are two proprietary zirconia products offered by Burbank Dental Lab.

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ZIRMAX M by Burbank Dental Lab

The ZIRMAX M is a type of monolithic zirconia that provides a high level of quality and versatility. One of the strongest zirconia restorations available, ZIRMAX M has a flexural strength of 1000 MPa. As a result of its strength, ZIRMAX M is suitable for a wide range of restorative applications, including posterior restorations, single units, wide-span bridges, and even full arch restorations.

Are PFMs Still a Viable Treatment? Zirconia vs. PFM

In addition to being strong, ZIRMAX M is aesthetically pleasing, with up to 25% greater transparency than other full zirconias.

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ZIRMAX ME by Burbank Dental Lab

ZIRMAX ME is 47% more translucent than other zirconias and is formulated to eliminate graying associated with lighter shades.

ZIRMAX ME

This material has a flexural strength of more than 1000 MPa, which makes it suitable for anterior bridges of four units and posterior bridges of three units (extending to the first molars). When compared to pressed ceramics, this material has superior aesthetics and doubles the strength.

Benefits of ZIRMAX Zirconia Restorations

  • Monolithic Zirconia’s most important advantage is its strength and durability
  • In terms of aesthetics, they are excellent
  • Their longevity has been proven in comparison to other dental restorations like PFMs.
  • Patients can benefit from their biocompatible solution

Indications for ZIRMAX Line of Zirconia

Smiles By Design - Success with Zirconia - Burbank Dental Lab

Zirconia restorations can be used in a wide range of restorative indications, Zirconia restorations can be used in a wide range of restorative indications, including single-unit crowns, bridges, inlays, onlays, implants, and in some instances, veneers.

This material is best prescribed when patients require durability and for those who may have sensitivities or allergies to metal. There has been continuous improvement in this material by its manufacturers, which allows it to continuously improve esthetics.

This is how the ZIRMAX line from Burbank Dental Lab is indicated:

  • ZIRMAX M is ideal for posterior full crowns and bridges as well as a substructure for layered anterior single crowns and bridge restorations.
  • ZIRMAX ME is ideal for anterior monolithic single crowns and bridges up to 4 units. Bridges may extend to the second premolar.
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Porcelain Fused to Metal Restorations

Are PFMs Still a Viable Treatment? Zirconia vs. PFM

Porcelain-fused metal crowns are fabricated using a metal substructure and porcelain layers. The use of these restorations in dentistry dates back to the 1950s. As a result of the metal substructure, the ceramic layer provides strength, esthetics, and function. Castings are made at Burbank Dental Lab using either induction casting or computer-aided manufacturing.

Benefits of PFM Restorations

  • Among dentistry’s most proven and tested restorations
  • Strength and durability
  • In cases requiring attachments or limited room, this is a good treatment option

Indications for PRMs

Undeniably, zirconia restorations are replacing many indications once served by PFMs. There are fewer areas where PFMs offer a more ideal treatment option. There are, however, some areas where PFMs still offer an effective treatment option, such as: 

  • Restorations requiring bridgework where there is minimal interocclusal space available.
  • A case that requires precision attachments
  • When matching other PFM work
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Technical Advantages of Zirconia vs. PFM

Due to the difference between these two materials, zirconia has become the more widely prescribed material.

Monolithic zirconia crowns are made from a single layer of high-strength material, while PFM crowns are made up of two parts: a metal substructure and a porcelain layer. Due to the inferior strength of porcelain compared to zirconia, the added porcelain layer is more prone to chipping or breaking.

Are PFMs Still a Viable Treatment? Zirconia vs. PFM

During the fabrication process, zirconia blocks are milled and sintered. By doing so, uniformity is created throughout the whole restoration.

Are PFMs Still a Viable Treatment? Zirconia vs. PFM

As a result, the material is less likely to chip or shear off. The combination of improved manufacturing processes and this material has catapulted it to take over PFMs as the dominant method of restorative dentistry.

However, zirconia restorations must be fabricated within specific guidelines to ensure their success and longevity. In situations where a long-span bridge is needed, zirconia restorations require enough room to ensure the bridge connectors are adequately supported. In situations where vertical space is limited, PFMs are the best choice.

In almost every area of dentistry, zirconia provides outstanding benefits. They provide strength, aesthetics, biocompatibility, and longevity. Although zirconia restorations have improved dentistry, PFMs remain an important part of restorative dentistry.

Let us know what you need for your next case by calling or chatting with a member of the Burbank Dental Lab team.

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Fabrication
of the future
is here!

Burbank Dental Lab has three new state-of-the-art Carbon M2 printers. We are very excited about the options that these cutting-edge printers will allow us to offer our dental clients. Here are some of the advantages that these printers will begin to deliver to you and your dental practice.

Our New
State-Of-The-Art
3d Printers

Carbon offers a highly dependable 3D manufacturing solution for many dental applications with its breakthrough Digital Light Synthesis™ technology, enabled by a wide range of dental materials.