Effect of coarse grinding, overglazing, and 2 polishing systems on the flexural strength, surface roughness, and phase transformation of yttrium-stabilized tetragonal zirconia

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Statement of problem

Limited information is available for the best polishing systems and methods to obtain minimally abrasive monolithic zirconia surfaces after contouring and occlusal adjustment.


The purpose of this in vitro study was to evaluate the effect of grinding and polishing procedures on the flexural strength, quality and quantity of surface roughness, topography, and phase transformation of a zirconia-based ceramic system.

Material and methods

Fifty bar-shaped yttrium-stabilized zirconium oxide specimens (20×4×2 mm) were cut from presintered zirconia blanks. The specimens were wet-polished and divided into 5 groups (n=10): standard polishing without any surface treatment (group SP); grinding with a diamond rotary instrument (group Gr); grinding with a diamond rotary instrument (DRI) and over-glazing (group Gl); grinding with a DRI and polishing with an intraoral zirconia polishing kit in a 2-step procedure (group BP); and grinding with a DRI and polishing with an intraoral polishing kit (group MP). The Ra and Rz surface roughness values (μm) were measured with a profilometer. One specimen of each group was subjected to x-ray diffraction (XRD) to estimate the monoclinic phase and evaluated using scanning electron microscopy (SEM) for surface topography. The 3-point flexural strength of the bars was measured in a universal testing machine at a crosshead speed of 0.5 mm/min. The mean flexural strength (MPa) and surface roughness values were calculated, and the results were analyzed using 1-way ANOVA and Tukey honest significant difference tests (α=.05).


Statistically significant differences were noted among the experimental groups for Ra, Rz (P<.001), and flexural strength values (P<.001). The highest Ra and Rz values were found in group Gr (P<.001) and the lowest in group Gl, which were significantly lower than the values in group Gr (P<.001). The 2 polishing systems (BP and MP) were not significantly different in terms of Ra and Rz values (P=.755 for Ra and P=.319 for Rz). The highest flexural strength was found in group Gr (283.35 ±49.85 MPa) without significant differences from those of MP and BP (P=.958 for BP and P=.404 for MP). The lowest flexural strength was found in Gl, which had no significant differences from those of the control group (P=1.000). In XRD the monoclinic phase was observed in Gr (26%), BP (24%), and MP (23%) groups. However, groups Gl and SP did not have any monoclinic phase. SEM showed deep unidirectional scratches after grinding that were smoothened by glazing and polishing.


Roughness increased significantly after grinding, but polishing and glazing similarly diminished it. Glazing after grinding significantly decreased the flexural strength values, but polishing did not.

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