Zirconia – detaching the stigma

Sean Wilkinson teaching at 'Die Zirkonzahn Schule'
Figure 1: DT Sean Wilkinson teaching at ‘Die Zirkonzahn Schule’

Laboratory magazine interviews dental technician Sean Wilkinson about Zirkonzahn’s workflow for zirconia restorations and how Prettau zirconia is changing the market in the UK.

Laboratory magazine: What is your role at Zirkonzahn?

Sean Wilkinson: I work in the dental technical research and development (R&D) department at the company’s headquarters in Gais, South Tyrol. I tend to work a lot on complex cases, trying to establish workflows. I test out Zirkonzahn’s new materials and really abuse them to find their limits before we put them on the market. When I am not in the R&D department, I am out lecturing, doing trade shows and client support, teaching clients, installing machines. So you can say my job is far from boring.

LM: What is Zirkonzahn’s zirconia workflow?

SW: Well, MDT Enrico Steger, Zirkonzahn’s founder and CEO, started researching zirconia in 2003. We as a company have been producing full-arch zirconia structures (Prettau bridges) since 2008 – so, it is safe to say that we know this material intimately. Zirconia is not a forgiving material, meaning that if you want to provide a long lasting restoration it needs to be thought out thoroughly. The main reason for failures is lack of planning or material stress. I remember when I was working in London years back, there was a stigma attached to zirconia. Then, most technicians I spoke to complained about breakage. Now, having worked with this material for almost 10 years I have come to realise that this was due to a lack of understanding from the materials properties. In this context, there is a study…

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