Video: While-you-wait sintering of zirconia dental crowns | The American Ceramic Society

Video: While-you-wait sintering of zirconia dental crowns

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Glidewell Laboratories in Newport Beach, Calif., developed a fast-firing process for zirconia that may make it possible for dental restoration crowns to be made while you wait. Credit: Glidewell Laboratories.

Have you been crowned? Dentally, that is, not regally.

Not long ago I was doubly crowned. It was a Big Deal with multiple trips to The Chair for Procedures. Eventually, dental professionals declared me prepped, impressions were made for my crowns and I was sent home.

For two weeks.

Two weeks of pampering the temporary crowns; two weeks of avoiding sticky, chewy and hard foods; two weeks of wait. When my teeth arrived, I went back to The Chair where dental professionals installed two lovely new zirconia crowns, swiped my credit card and told me they would miss me. I’ve been a happy muncher ever since. But, it sure would have been nice if it the crowns could have been made faster.

Glidewell Laboratories in Newport Beach, Calif. agrees and is putting the final touches on a new rapid sintering process that it says will fully sinter a zirconia restoration in about 12 minutes. In an email communication, Robin Carden, vice president of R&D, explained the new approach uses electromagnetic induction or inductive coupled plasma to fast-fire zirconia dental crowns. Carden’s note pointed out that until now fast-firing techniques relied on quick response heating elements like molybdenum disilicide, but the sintering process still could take up to two hours to complete. The patented process means zirconia crowns can be made and fired while the patient waits in the office (with just the right amount of time to read the latest issue of The Bulletin.)

Although light on technical details, the video above shows a zirconia crown being sintered. The video is played at high speed, so the entire 12 minute process is viewed in less than two minutes. Watch closely around the 28 second mark to see the specimen shrink dramatically. Grid lines superimposed on the video make it easier to gauge. And kudos to the music maestro. Genius!