A new study has looked at the damage that could be caused to dental restorations by acid. Although the restorations did show damage related to acidic attack, the damage is much less than that experienced by natural teeth in similar experiments.
Comparing Zirconia to Traditional Materials
As zirconia becomes the standard ceramic used in many cosmetic dentistry and reconstructive dentistry situations (such as for bruxers or in situations with significant bite force, such as molar teeth), it’s important to understand how well it stands up to challenges other than the bite forces it has been proven to withstand. It turns out that zirconia is not only stronger than other dental ceramics, such as lithium disilicates, it’s more resistant to attacks by acids.
To analyze the effects, researchers took samples of the materials and soaked them in a simulated gastric acid solution of 0.6 M hydrochloric acid for 96 hours.
They found that after the period of soaking in the acid, one zirconia sample had lost about 1.4% of its weight, but overall they had lost an average of 1% of their weight. The comparison lithium disilicate material had lost about three times as much, 3.05% of its weight.
Comparing Restorations to Tooth Enamel
So how do these restorations compare to your natural teeth in terms of acid resistance? Very well, in fact. We can use a study that soaked natural teeth in sodas for a comparison. In this study, newly extracted teeth were soaked in various sodas for 48 hours. It was found that many of the sodas, including Coke, Pepsi, RC Cola, Squirt, Surge, 7 Up, and Diet 7 Up reduced the weight of the teeth by over 5%.
At first, it might seem like it’s not that much of a difference between the 3% weight loss in lithium disilicate and natural enamel, but you have to remember that the experiments used different conditions. First, the restorations were soaked in acid for twice as long (96 hours vs 48 hours). And they were soaked in a much stronger acid. While sodas have a pH of 2.38 or more, the pH of the gastric acid solution was 0.22. Since each pH point represents an increase of ten times in the strength of an acid, the gastric solution was about 150 times stronger than the sodas. In other words, the restorations were exposed to about 300 times more acid than the natural teeth. So, even though the restorations showed some damage in the experiments, it’s unlikely that most causes of tooth erosion, including drinking soda or exposing your teeth to stomach acid through gastroesophageal reflux disease, would cause noticeable damage to your restorations.
With our CEREC system, we can make dental crowns in both these and other materials. To learn more about the durability modern dental restorations, please call (760) 832-7915 for an appointment with a Rancho Mirage cosmetic dentist at Country Club Dentistry.