Different polishing methods for zirconia: impact on surface, optical, and mechanical properties

  • Regina Pfefferle
  • Nina Lümkemann
  • Felicitas WiedenmannEmail author
  • Bogna Stawarczyk
Original Article



To test the impact of polishing strategies on zirconia properties.

Materials and methods

One hundred eight zirconia specimens were divided into nine groups (n = 12/group). Seven groups were polished in the white-stage with either (1) a felt wheel (FW), (2) a felt wheel combined with a polishing paste (FWP), (3) a goat hair brush (GB), (4) a goat hair brush combined with a polishing paste (GBP), (5) a green-state finishing kit (FK), (6) a universal polisher (UP), or (7) with SiC polishing paper (PP), and sintered. Thereafter, the seven groups were divided into two subgroups each and polished using (1) a fine polisher (one-step, n = 6) or (2) a rough and fine polisher (two-steps, n = 6). The positive control group (polish-lab-kit, PLK) was sintered and polished in two-steps. The no polished group (NP) acted as negative control group. Translucency (T%) was measured after white-stage polishing and sintering, and after sintered-stage polishing. Surface free energy (SFE), surface roughness (SR), and flexural strength (FS) were determined. Data were analyzed using one-way ANOVA with Tukey-B post-hoc, t test, and Wilcoxon-test (p < 0.05).


FWP, GB, FK, UP, and PP presented decreased T% after one-step, while FWP, GB, GBP, FK, and UP presented decreased T% following two-steps polishing. FW showed the highest T% after white-stage, one-, and two-steps polishing. PP presented the lowest SFE. Two-steps polishing resulted in a lower SR for FW, FWP, GB, FK, UP, and PP and increased FS in all groups.


White-stage polishing improved zirconia properties. Two-steps polishing in the sintered stage, especially when combined with a polishing paste, can decrease SR and increase T% and FS.

Clinical relevance

With polishing in the sintered-stage impairing the polishing material and being time consuming, alternatives such as white-stage polishing should be investigated.


Zirconia polishing Translucency Surface roughness Surface free energy Biaxial strength 



The authors would like to thank Amann Girrbach for providing the material.


This research was partially supported by research grant ZF4052004AG (AiF Projekt GmbH, Berlin, Germany, ZIM-Kooperationsprojekte, Projektträger des BMWi).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.

Informed consent

For this type of study, formal consent was not required.


  1. 1.
    Stawarczyk B, Keul C, Eichberger M, Figge D, Edelhoff D, Lumkemann N (2017) Three generations of zirconia: from veneered to monolithic. Part I. Quintessence Int 48:369–380. Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Nassary Zadeh P, Lumkemann N, Sener B, Eichberger M, Stawarczyk B (2018) Flexural strength, fracture toughness, and translucency of cubic/tetragonal zirconia materials. J Prosthet Dent 120:948–954. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Park C, Vang MS, Park SW, Lim HP (2017) Effect of various polishing systems on the surface roughness and phase transformation of zirconia and the durability of the polishing systems. J Prosthet Dent 117:430–437. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Stawarczyk B, Keul C, Eichberger M, Figge D, Edelhoff D, Lumkemann N (2017) Three generations of zirconia: from veneered to monolithic. Part II. Quintessence Int 48:441–450. Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Piconi C, Maccauro G (1999) Zirconia as a ceramic biomaterial. Biomaterials 20:1–25CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Botelho MG, Dangay S, Shih K, Lam WYH (2018) The effect of surface treatments on dental zirconia: an analysis of biaxial flexural strength, surface roughness and phase transformation. J Dent 75:65–73. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Heintze SD, Rousson V (2010) Survival of zirconia- and metal-supported fixed dental prostheses: a systematic review. Int J Prosthodont 23:493–502Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Metzler KT, Woody RD, Miller AW 3rd, Miller BH (1999) In vitro investigation of the wear of human enamel by dental porcelain. J Prosthet Dent 81:356–364CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Chavali R, Lin CP, Lawson NC (2017) Evaluation of different polishing systems and speeds for dental zirconia. J Prosthodont 26:410–418. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Bollen CM, Lambrechts P, Quirynen M (1997) Comparison of surface roughness of oral hard materials to the threshold surface roughness for bacterial plaque retention: a review of the literature. Dent Mater 13:258–269CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Kozmacs C, Hollmann B, Arnold WH, Naumova E, Piwowarczyk A (2017) Polishing of monolithic zirconia crowns-results of different dental practitioner groups. Dent J (Basel) 5.
  12. 12.
    Shahmiri R, Standard OC, Hart JN, Sorrell CC (2018) Optical properties of zirconia ceramics for esthetic dental restorations: a systematic review. J Prosthet Dent 119:36–46. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Yin L, Nakanishi Y, Alao AR, Song XF, Abduo J, Zhang Y (2017) A review of engineered zirconia surfaces in biomedical applications. Procedia CIRP 65:284–290. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Sabrah AH, Cook NB, Luangruangrong P, Hara AT, Bottino MC (2013) Full-contour Y-TZP ceramic surface roughness effect on synthetic hydroxyapatite wear. Dent Mater 29:666–673. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Heintze SD, Cavalleri A, Forjanic M, Zellweger G, Rousson V (2008) Wear of ceramic and antagonist--a systematic evaluation of influencing factors in vitro. Dent Mater 24:433–449. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Preis V, Behr M, Hahnel S, Handel G, Rosentritt M (2012) In vitro failure and fracture resistance of veneered and full-contour zirconia restorations. J Dent 40:921–928. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Janyavula S, Lawson N, Cakir D, Beck P, Ramp LC, Burgess JO (2013) The wear of polished and glazed zirconia against enamel. J Prosthet Dent 109:22–29. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Hmaidouch R, Muller WD, Lauer HC, Weigl P (2014) Surface roughness of zirconia for full-contour crowns after clinically simulated grinding and polishing. Int J Oral Sci 6:241–246. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Caglar I, Ates SM, Yesil Duymus Z (2018) The effect of various polishing systems on surface roughness and phase transformation of monolithic zirconia. J Adv Prosthodont 10:132–137. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Huh YH, Park CJ, Cho LR (2016) Evaluation of various polishing systems and the phase transformation of monolithic zirconia. J Prosthet Dent 116:440–449. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Preis V, Grumser K, Schneider-Feyrer S, Behr M, Rosentritt M (2015) The effectiveness of polishing kits: influence on surface roughness of zirconia. Int J Prosthodont 28:149–151. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Kim HK, Kim SH, Lee JB, Han JS, Yeo IS (2013) Effect of polishing and glazing on the color and spectral distribution of monolithic zirconia. J Adv Prosthodont 5:296–304. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Chun KJ, Lee JY (2014) Comparative study of mechanical properties of dental restorative materials and dental hard tissues in compressive loads. J Dent Biomech 5:1758736014555246. Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Jansen J, Lümkemann N, Letz I, Pfefferle R, Sener B, Stawarczyk B (2019) Impact of high-speed sintering on translucency, phase content, grain sizes, and flexural strength of 3Y-TZP and 4Y-TZP zirconia materials. J Prosthet Dent.
  25. 25.
    Ozcan M, Melo RM, Souza RO, Machado JP, Felipe Valandro L, Botttino MA (2013) Effect of air-particle abrasion protocols on the biaxial flexural strength, surface characteristics and phase transformation of zirconia after cyclic loading. J Mech Behav Biomed Mater 20:19–28. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Garvie RN, Nicholson PS (1972) Structure and thermomechanical properties of partially stabilized zirconia in the CaO-ZrO2 system. In: J Am Ceram Soc, vol 55, pp 152–157Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Prosthetic DentistryKlinikum der Universität München, LMU MünchenMunichGermany

Personalised recommendations