Dental glass ceramicsThe Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC
Glass ceramics have a proven reputation as materials for dental prostheses. Their crystalline components allow the translucency (partial light transmission) and mechanical properties (e.g. hardness and polishability) of the material to be adapted by varying the size of the crystals and the phase boundaries. Their resistance to chemical attack is also superior to that of plain glass – an aspect of prime importance to oral health.
Another property of these materials is of particular interest to CAD/CAM applications: At an intermediate stage in the crystallization process, they can be mechanically processed quickly and easily before being transformed into a highly stable glass ceramic in a final, short tempering stage.
The CAD/CAM process takes place directly in the dentist’s surgery or dental laboratory on the basis of the individual patient’s needs. Between 2009 and 2012, in a joint project with industrial partners, Fraunhofer ISC developed a novel glass ceramic material and a specially adapted system for fabricating dental blanks from it. The patented new glass ceramic features outstanding translucency, excellent chemical resistance, and remarkable strength.
A prototype system for fabricating dental blanks from this material has been designed, constructed and tested at Fraunhofer ISC. All development work on the material and the construction of the fabrication system took place in the institute’s certified glass laboratories, which comply with the applicable directives for medical products and the required quality management standards. The material, which goes by the product names Suprinity® and Celtra®, was presented at the IDS International Dental Show in Cologne in March. Its market launch is planned for September 2013.