Effect of various polishing systems on the surface roughness and phase transformation of zirconia and the durability of the polishing systems

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Statement of problem

Although many systems are used to polish zirconia, a comparison of the performance of zirconia and feldspathic porcelain polishing systems is lacking.


The purpose of this in vitro study was to compare the effects of 3 polishing systems on surface roughness, zirconia phase transformation, and durability of the polishing systems when applied to zirconia and feldspathic porcelain.

Material and methods

Three polishing systems were evaluated: Z1, a zirconia polishing system; Z2, a zirconia polishing system, and F1, a feldspathic porcelain polishing system. Three ceramic systems were evaluated: PR and ZM zirconia specimens (diameter 15 mm, height 2 mm; 23 specimens each) and CB feldspathic porcelain specimens of the same size (15 specimens). A rough surface was created on the 3 types of specimens (15 specimens each) to model an occlusal adjustment under the same conditions. Polishing was carried out with the 3 polishing systems for 2 minutes each. Surface roughness was measured with a 3-dimensional (3D) optical profiler. The surface was also observed with a scanning electron microscopy. X-ray diffraction analysis was performed for 8 PR or ZM zirconia specimens polished by using the Z1 and Z2 systems for 8 minutes to evaluate the phase transformation of zirconia before, during, and after polishing. These specimens were compared and analyzed for phase transformation that might have occurred during the polishing of the specimens. After finishing the surface roughness experiment and the phase transformation experiment, the volumes of the polishers were measured with a 3D volume scanner and compared with those before the experiments to evaluate the durability of the polishing system. A statistical analysis of all data was performed using 2-way ANOVA and the Tukey honest significant difference test (α=.05).


The 2 zirconia polishing systems (Z1, Z2) created a significantly (P<.001) smoother surface, regardless of the type of specimens used for polishing, than the feldspathic porcelain polishing system (F1). When polishing treatment was carried out on zirconia specimens for 8 minutes, the maximum percentages of monoclinic phase increased by 0.03% in the Z1 system and by 0.09% in the Z2 system. The volume change for the durability evaluation of the polishing system was 13.35 and 29.37% in the Z1 system, 2.05 and 5.92% in the Z2 system, and 3.60 and 4.95% in the F1 system, respectively.


Zirconia polishing systems created a smoother surface on zirconia than the feldspathic porcelain polishing system. No significant changes in the phase transformation of zirconia were found before and after polishing. Each polishing system showed different levels of wear resistance.

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