Despite the excellent esthetics, biocompatibility and durability of the conventional ceramics, one of their major drawbacks is their inherent brittleness and relative inability to resist crack propagation. As a result, fractures of ceramic restorations is often observed which are caused due to forces that are much below their actual strength. What if ceramics could somehow be made flexible and more fracture resistant? Yes, thanks to modern dental biomaterials science, it has now been made possible! Say hello to the Hybrid Nanoceramics! These ceramics combine the beneficial properties of different biomaterials in order to enhance the strength and durability of the dental ceramics.

What are Hybrid Nanoceramics?

As the name suggests, Nanoceramics are made from ceramic nanoparticles. The term hybrid indicates that the ceramic nanoparticles are bound in a polymeric resin matrix. The resin matrix forms the backbone of the ceramic structure, and provides strength and flexibility to the prosthesis. The ceramic nanoparticles form the major bulk of the structure, and are dispersed throughout the resin matrix.

3M Lava Ultimate Nanoceramics

One of the first commercial nanoceramic products that was available in the markets was 3M Lava Ultimate. This revolutionary product consists of about 80% nanoceramic particles (by weight) that are dispersed in a resin matrix. This unique resin/nanoceramic combination provides the Lava Ultimate its excellent flexibility and fracture toughness. The 3M lava Ultimate nanoceramic is indicated for the fabrication of the following intra-oral prostheses:

  • Inlays
  • Onlays
  • Veneers

The 3M Lava Ultimate was previously also indicated for the fabrication of all-ceramic crowns. However, its use has been discontinued due to the increased rate of debonding of the prostheses.

Crystal Ultra Nanoceramic

Another excellent nanoceramic product is the Crystal Ultra. This product consists of a unique blend of nanoceramic particles which are embedded within a resin polymeric matrix. 30% of the nanoceramic structure is occupied by the resin while the remaining 70% consists of ceramic nanoparticles.

What’s so Unique about Crystal Ultra?

The crystal ultra hybrid nanoceramics possess two very unique qualities; extreme flexibility and the ability to be used for the fabrication of long span prostheses.

  • Excellent Flexibility – owing the enhanced polymeric network present in these ceramics, the crystal ultra possesses excellent flexibility. It is one of the first ceramics that possesses the ability to be bent dynamically according to the forces that are generated within the oral cavity. As a result, these nanoceramics possess excellent fracture resistance.
  • Use in Long Span Prostheses – most nanoceramics are only indicated for the fabrication of veneers, inlays and onlays. However, the crystal Ultra has also been indicated for the fabrication of long span bridges, and even dental implants!

Apart from long span prostheses, the Crystal Ultra has also been indicated for the following:

  • Inlays
  • Onlays
  • Veneers
  • Crowns

Other Hybrid Nanoceramics

These are not the only hybrid nanoceramic products available in the market. If you want, you can also try out other products as well, such as GC America's Cerasmart and Vita Enamic.

What is ZirconiaBlog?

The dental laboratory industry has been using Zirconia (yttria-stabilized zirconium dioxide) as a dental framework material for several years in our dental laboratories, working with a variety of milling systems and materials.

About the Contributors

The following members of the media and the dental industry are regular contributors to

  • Rick Mc Comas - Dental Industry Technology Journalist
  • Cameron Karpowitz - CAD/CAM Equipment Manufacturer
  • Scott Atkin - Lab Owner & Dental Zirconia Manufacturer

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