Courtesy of Dentaltown Magazine: 

Material science advancements have enabled dental professionals to design and fabricate highly customized restorations that meet patients’ aesthetic and functional requirements. Such advancements are especially helpful when replacing failing or defective restorations. Especially with large defects in the molar region, where direct restorative therapy reaches its limits, both anatomy and aesthetics can be restored by all-ceramic restorations.

In the past, posterior restoration guidelines dictated that function and strength be the most important characteristics of restorative materials. Although all-ceramic systems were produced from the late nineteenth century, their indications have been limited due to their poor mechanical properties and the associated failure rates. Therefore, cast gold or other porcelain-fused-to-metal (PFM) restorations with a higher fracture toughness and flexural strength were generally employed for posterior restorations, where respective forces of mastication occur. With the introduction of all-ceramic systems, which could be improved by structural reinforcement and defect-minimizing production process, the range of indications could be expanded. Another breakthrough was achieved by adhesive cementation, thus increasing the mechanical strength and improving the longevity of a ceramic.

However, development of new materials in recent years has allowed clinicians a reprieve from deciding between function and aesthetics. Materials such as lithium disilicate (IPS e.max, Ivoclar Vivadent) and universal cementation systems (Multilink Automix Next Generation, Ivoclar Vivadent) have expanded opportunities for dental professionals to offer the highest quality metal-free, durable and aesthetic restorations for all clinical indications, regardless of their location in the mouth.

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