The global dental company Ivoclar Vivadent of Lichtenstein purveys an all-ceramic restorative material known as Monolithic Lithium Disilicate, trademarked as IPS e.max. Their trademarked Empress product is made from leucite-reinforced glass ceramic. Now proven by many years of clinical experience, both lithium disilicate and leucite-reinforced glass ceramics are popular and affordable alternatives to PFM (porcelain fused to metal) and zirconia-based restorative treatments. Combining beautiful aesthetics with durability and strength, these glass ceramics provide essentially perfect occlusal contacts by staining or layering. No shrinkage means an optimal fit and thus ideal for both anterior and posterior crowns as well as implants.
Lithium disilicate and leucite-reinforced ceramic restorations can either be milled or pressed through the use of computer-assisted design and manufacturing (CAD/CAM) procedures. This technology facilitates the chairside creation and insertion of ceramic restorations in one appointment. With a flexural strength of 360-400 MPa, monolithic lithium disilicate is an optimal, high-strength solution for single or multiple unit anterior and posterior crowns, bridges, veneers, implants, inlays and onlays with minimal preparation yet the restorations deliver beautiful, natural aesthetics. While objectively not as robust as lithium silicate, leucite-reinforced glass ceramic (with a flexural strength of 120-140 MPa) is aesthetically preferred by many patients and clinicians. However, both may be cut back to add a feldspathic layer to improve aesthetics. Note that leucite-reinforced ceramics must be bonded whereas lithium silicate can be cemented adhesively, self-adhesively or conventionally with resin ionomers.
Dental clinicians may opt for traditional build-up, pressable crowns and CAD/CAM fabricated restorations when using leucite-reinforced ceramics. Appropriate anterior applications include single-unit crowns, veneers, onlays and inlays. Leucite-reinforced ceramic multi-units are also indicated for anterior full and three-quarter crowns, veneers, onlays and inlays.
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