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Tooth-colored restorative materials have evolved

KEY TERMS from the soluble silicate cements of the past to the
alloy modulus of elasticity composite resin materials and resin-modified glass
compressive stress percentage elongation ionomer cements of today. Currently, metal-ceramic
coping proportional limit prostheses are widely accepted and are the most
creep tensile strength commonly used extracoronal restoration.1,2 They
cut-back tensile stress combine the superior fit of a casting with the out-
ductility toughness standing esthetics of dental porcelain. Because the
elastic limit yield strength ceramic veneer is chemically bonded to the metal
hardness substructure, this restoration is not subject to the dis-
coloration problems associated with acrylic resin
veneer crowns and, when appropriate clinical and
ll patients want a pleasing smile, and so esthet- laboratory protocols are followed, excellent longevity

A ics is an essential part of restorative practice,

in which attention must be given to color,
shape, surface texture, and proportion. Because
can be predicted.3 In addition, the material proper-
ties of dental porcelain are better able than resin to
withstand wear under functional loading.
anterior and maxillary posterior teeth are the most The concept of combining a brittle material with
visible, they require the greatest attention to esthetic an elastic material to arrive at more desirable physi-
detail. cal properties has many engineering applications.


Dental porcelains (which are, chemically speaking, wear.13 Less wear on opposing teeth was cited as the
glasses) resist compressive loading but tend to most important need for improvement of poste-
succumb to tensile stress. Therefore, the metal sub- rior tooth-colored crowns.1 In addition, porcelain
structure must be designed so that any tensile occlusal coverage leads to restorations with lower
stresses in the porcelain are minimized. strength,14 and anatomically correct occlusal form
To avoid fracture, the thickness of a ceramic with sharp cusps can be difficult to obtain in dental
veneer must not exceed 2 mm; however, a minimum porcelain.
thickness of 1 mm is needed for an esthetically Some technicians may attempt to fabricate a
pleasing restoration. framework by dipping the die into molten wax,
Restorations with porcelain occlusal surfaces obtaining an even thickness. After the excess wax is
must be planned carefully. Although they are esthet- trimmed away, a gingival collar is added, and the
ically very acceptable, these restorations have disad- pattern is sprued, invested, and cast. When this is
vantages, especially wear of the opposing enamel.4 completed, the veneer is then applied. This tech-
Ideally, an esthetic restoration should wear at nique almost always produces an uneven porcelain
approximately the same rate as the enamel it thickness, with an increased potential for material
replaces (about 10 mm per year5). In addition, the fracture as a result of the porcelain’s lack of proper
restoration should not increase the wear rate of an support (Fig. 19-2). If porcelain thickness is not well
opposing enamel surface. Dental porcelain is more controlled, appearance suffers as well, because the
abrasive of enamel than of other restorative materi- shade of the final crown depends on porcelain thick-
als (e.g., gold or amalgam6–10) and has been impli- ness.15 For predictable success, the framework must
cated in severe occlusal wear, particularly when the be carefully designed and shaped.
porcelain is not glazed or highly polished (Fig.
19-1).11 This factor should be considered whenever
a metal-ceramic restoration is being designed,12 and PREREQUISITES
the practitioner should realize that although abra- The framework design for a fixed prosthesis should
siveness may be correlated with the composition of be considered during the treatment planning stage
the ceramic material, the selection of a lower fusing (see Chapter 3) and should be evaluated at the diag-
ceramic (sometimes labeled by the manufacturer as nostic tooth preparation and waxing stages, par-
“low-wear”) does not necessarily mean less enamel ticularly in more complex treatments. A properly



Fig. 19-1
A to D, Destructive enamel wear associated with metal-ceramic restorations. (Courtesy of Dr. M. T. Padilla.)

The most effective way to consistently meet these

criteria, with a minimum number of failures, is to
develop the final contours of the proposed restora-
Metal tion in wax (Fig. 19-4). Once completed, the area to
A B be veneered can be demarcated and an even thick-
ness of wax removed. If this technique is not fol-
Porcelain lowed, one or more of the objectives is almost
certainly missed, and the contours of the framework
Fracture are not in harmony with the required ceramic
configuration (Fig. 19-5).

Occlusal Analysis
The centric stops of any metal-ceramic restoration
can be located on either porcelain or metal.
However, they must be at least 1.5 mm away from
the junction16 to prevent porcelain fracture from
Metal deformation of the metal (Fig. 19-6). Care is needed
C D to minimize sliding contacts over the porcelain-
Porcelain metal interface. When this is not possible, the frame-
work must be modified so that the porcelain is well
supported in the area of functional contact.
Fracture Existing restorations in the opposing arch can
influence framework design. Because sliding contact
Fig. 19-2 of a porcelain restoration with a cast crown abrades
A and C, Cross section through a metal-ceramic restoration.
the gold, the framework design must be modified as
Ideal porcelain thickness is ensured by waxing to the full
anatomic contour and cutting back. B and D, Incorrect frame-
necessary. A complete cast crown in the mandibular
work design has insufficient support for the incisal porcelain. arch presents little difficulty. It can be opposed by
This can lead to fracture. a maxillary restoration with only a metal occlusal
surface and a facial ceramic veneer (Fig. 19-7). An
existing metal crown on a maxillary molar, however,
designed framework for a metal-ceramic crown or restricts the design of a mandibular metal-ceramic
fixed dental prosthesis (FDP) can be achieved rou- restoration if metal-to-porcelain contact is to be
tinely only by waxing the restoration to complete avoided (Fig. 19-8). Here the facial veneer can no
anatomic contour first and then cutting back a con- longer be extended to include the buccal cusp tips
sistent amount for the veneer. This allows an even and associated centric stops without contacting the
thickness of porcelain, proper porcelain-metal inter- opposing restoration. A complete cast crown is
faces, good connector design, and optimally placed usually preferred because most patients do not show
occlusal contacts. the facial surfaces of their mandibular posterior
teeth. In other situations, particularly on mandibu-
lar first premolars, a facial veneer is esthetically
Waxing to Anatomic Contour
essential, and the design of opposing restorations
The main objective in waxing a framework is a sub- should allow for it (Fig. 19-9).
structure that supports a relatively even thickness of
porcelain. Simultaneously, if the retainer is to serve
as part of an FDP, it must allow for proper connec-
tor configuration and location. Furthermore, the The criteria for waxing to anatomic contour are dis-
restoration must conform to the normal anatomic cussed in Chapter 18. This section deals with cutting
configuration of the tooth that is being replaced. At back the veneering area.
the porcelain-metal interface, the ceramic material
should be at least 0.5 mm thick. The framework
should be shaped to allow for a distinct margin so
that the porcelain is not overextended (Fig. 19-3). • Bunsen burner
There should be no abrupt contour change between • Inlay wax
the metal and the adjacent porcelain. • Cloth
Text continues on page 595
A Porcelain

There should not be any

sharp angles or pits on
the surface that is to be


1 mm

Fig. 19-3
A, The metal substructure should have a distinct margin for finishing the veneer. The location of the ceramic-metal interface varies,
depending on the material chosen to contact adjacent and opposing teeth. B, Cutback for proximal contact in porcelain. C, Occlusal
contact in metal. D, Proximal contact in metal. (B to D, Courtesy of Dr. R. Froemling.)



Fig. 19-4
A and B, Waxing anterior metal-ceramic restorations. C, Right lateral excursion. D, Left lateral excursion. E, The anterior guidance
is determined with a custom table fabricated from the diagnostic waxing procedure.




Fig. 19-5
Predictable esthetic result ensured by waxing to anatomic contour. A, Anatomic contour wax patterns. B and C, Incisal and labial
indices were used to verify even cut-back. D, Cast substructures. E, The labial index is reused during porcelain application. F, The
porcelain application. G, After contouring, the restorations are ready for clinical evaluation. The metal-ceramic restorations. (Courtesy
of Dr. M. Chen.)

Fig. 19-6
A, The metal-ceramic junction must be carefully placed to avoid areas of high stress near occlusal contacts. B, Waxing to the anatomic
contour ensures a smooth transition from porcelain to metal.

Porcelain Metal

Metal-porcelain junction

Metal-porcelain junction

Metal Porcelain

Fig. 19-7 Fig. 19-8

The metal-ceramic restoration should be designed so that In the mandibular arch, the functional cusps are visible, and
porcelain does not oppose an existing gold restoration. This only a buccal window of porcelain can be made without con-
presents few problems in the maxillary arch because the less tacting an opposing metal crown. Under these circumstances,
visible lingual cusps are in cuspal contact. it must be decided whether the patient should accept an
esthetic or functional compromise.

Fig. 19-9
A and B, Opposing restorations must be carefully planned so that con-
tacting surfaces are of the same material (i.e., metal opposing metal,
porcelain opposing porcelain).

• Sharp pencil Step-by-Step Procedure

• Die-wax separating liquid
• Powdered wax Designing the cut-back
• Waxing instruments Esthetic and functional needs govern the design of
• Nylon hose and silk cloth the veneering surface. The ceramic veneer should
• Cut-back instrument extend far enough interproximally, particularly in the
• Scalpel cervical half of the restoration, to avoid metal display.
• Discoid carver Wherever possible, the functional occlusal surfaces
• Wax saw should be designed in metal, because an accurate
• Waxing brushes occlusion is then easier to achieve (Fig. 19-10).

Occlusion Occlusion Occlusion

in porcelain in porcelain in metal
(with connector)

Buccal cusp Occlusion

in porcelain in metal

Occlusion Occlusion
in porcelain in porcelain
(with connector)
Fig. 19-10
Framework designs for a maxillary incisor (A) and a maxillary posterior tooth (B). The cut-back should be designed so the occlusal
contacts are 1.5 mm away from the metal-porcelain junction. C, Framework designs for porcelain occlusal surfaces.

However, esthetic demands may require extension of

the porcelain veneer (e.g., on the mesial incline of a
mandibular buccal cusp). The extent to which a
restoration can be veneered is determined largely by
the location of the centric stops. A
1. Do not place any proximal contacts on the junc-
tion between metal and porcelain. Plaque accu-
mulation there may result in caries of the
adjacent tooth. Normally, for good appearance
and because it is more easily cleaned, proximal
contacts are placed in porcelain. On some pos-
terior teeth, however, where the interproximal
area cannot be easily seen, a more conservative
preparation may be possible, with the contacts
entirely in metal (see Fig. 19-3D). m
2. Once the extent of the cut-back area has been
determined, use a sharp instrument (e.g., an 1 mm
explorer or scalpel) to mark a line delineating
Fig. 19-11
the porcelain interface.
A cut-back instrument can be readily made from a damaged
3. Dust the pattern with powdered wax, and close hand instrument.
the articulator to determine the location of the
centric contacts.
4. Inspect the design to verify that the proposed
junction is far enough away from the contacts
(1.5 mm) to prevent distortion of the metal and the veneering surface concentrate stresses,
porcelain fracture. which may lead to fracture of the restoration.17
Smoothing is much easier in wax than in metal,
Troughing the pattern although this is not always appreciated initially.
Just as guiding grooves are used to mark the amount 9. Finish the porcelain-metal interface to a 90-
of substance to be removed in tooth preparation, degree butt joint (Fig. 19-12F to J). Reflowing
depth cuts (troughing) can be used to standardize the the margin is essentially the same as for con-
amount of wax to be removed from the veneering ventional wax patterns (see Chapter 18).
area. 10. Reestablish the collar (obliterated during
5. Modify an old or damaged hand instrument reflowing) immediately before investing. Make
with a separating disk to serve as a cut-back it slightly thicker (approximately 0.5 mm) to
instrument (Fig. 19-11).* The cutting edge ensure an undistorted complete casting (Fig. 19-
should resemble the tip of a straight chisel. 13). When waxing for the porcelain labial
There should be a shoulder exactly 1 mm from margin technique (see Chapter 24), some tech-
the cutting edge. nicians prefer to wax a collar and cut back the
6. Make depth cuts around the periphery of the metal; others wax to the collarless shape, but
cut-back area that are perpendicular to the care should be exercised to avoid distorting the
surface of the wax pattern. Depending on the fragile pattern.
size of the cut-back area, one or more vertical
and horizontal cuts can also be made. Connector design
7. Remove the islands in between with a scalpel or 11. Establish the connectors in wax as described in
another carving instrument (Fig. 19-12A to E). Chapters 18 and 28. Properly shaped and posi-
tioned connectors are very important. If pre– or
Finishing post–ceramic application soldering is planned,
8. Once the bulk reduction has been completed, the patterns are separated with a fine saw.
smooth the veneering surface of the wax. This 12. If only a facial veneer is involved, make the
ensures a rounded design and minimizes the connectors identical to those for a conventional
time spent on metal finishing. Sharp angles on restoration. If the incisal or occlusal aspect is
involved in the porcelain veneer, do not displace
*A suitable instrument is available from Hu-Friedy Manufacturing Co., Inc, the connector cervically, because access for oral
Chicago, Illinois. hygiene will be impeded (Fig. 19-14).






Fig. 19-12
Cut-back procedure. A and B, For extensive restorations, a matrix or index can be made to assist with the evaluation of the cut-back
and subsequent porcelain application. C, It is important to follow the incisal contour carefully. D, Guiding troughs prepared in the
area to be veneered. E, Wax is removed from between the troughs. F, The porcelain-metal interface is carved to a distinct butt joint.
G, Note the correctly shaped proximal. These units will have soldered connectors. H, The finished cut-back. I and J, Patterns before
reflowing of the margins.

Fig. 19-13
A, Margins reflowed. This ensures optimum adaptation of the
wax pattern in the critical margin area. B, Patterns before

13. Because glazed vacuum-fired porcelain is easy
to keep clean, include the tissue-contacting
surfaces of pontics in the veneering surface
(Fig. 19-15).
14. To improve handling and stability of the wax Fig. 19-14
pattern, be sure to cut back this area last (see A and B, Connectors should be located where they do not
Chapter 20). impede oral hygiene measures.

Immediately before the investing stage, the follow-
ing criteria should have been met:
1. The pattern should conform to normal anatomic
form. Centric stops should be located at least 1.5
mm from the porcelain-metal junction. William A. Brantley
2. The angle between the veneering surface and the Leon W. Laub
metal framework should be 90 degrees.
3. The internal surface of the veneering area should Clinicians and dental laboratories face a potentially
be smooth and rounded. bewildering set of choices when selecting alloys for
4. The collar height should be about 0.5 mm in wax metal-ceramic restorations. Both noble metal and
with connectors of adequate size, but it should base metal casting alloys exist, and there are differ-
not impinge on the soft tissue in the interproxi- ent alloy types for each of these two major groups.
mal areas. There are advantages and disadvantages for each
5. The pattern should be smooth, so that metal- alloy type, including significant differences in cost.
finishing procedures are minimized. Successful clinical practice depends on the selection


Fig. 19-15
A and B, The tissue contact on the pontics of this extensive fixed prosthesis was established in porcelain.

the density is important in both the economics of

alloy selection and the dental laboratory procedure
with the casting machine.
Modulus of elasticity
Figure 19-17 illustrates schematically the tensile
stress-strain plot for a ductile casting alloy that
undergoes substantial permanent deformation
before fracture. This plot consists of two portions: (1)
a linear or elastic region that ends at the propor-
Fig. 19-16 tional limit, where the stress is proportional to strain,
Failure caused by improper material selection.
and (2) a subsequent curved region corresponding
to plastic or permanent deformation (which ter-
minates when the test specimen fractures). The
of a compatible metal-porcelain combination that modulus of elasticity (also called Young’s modulus) is
provides predictable results, depending on the par- the slope of the stress-strain plot in the elastic region.
ticular patient’s case. Improper selection can cause The elastic modulus has the same value for tensile
catastrophic failure (Fig. 19-16). For a better under- and compressive strains, which occur during
standing of the different properties provided on the bending of a prosthesis, in which regions on oppo-
packaging of casting alloys, the meanings and clini- site sides of the neutral axis (centerline for a sym-
cal relevance of these properties are discussed next. metric cross section) undergo opposite senses of
deformation. An alloy with a higher modulus of elas-
ticity has greater stiffness or rigidity for elastic defor-
Dental Connotations of Mechanical and
mation. For the fabrication of a long-span FDP, an
Physical Properties for Ceramic Alloys
alloy with a relatively high modulus of elasticity to
Mechanical properties of major clinical relevance reduce the amount of bending deflection under
are modulus of elasticity, yield strength (or pro- loading is preferred, because excessive flexure can
portional limit), hardness, and creep or distortion cause fracture of the brittle porcelain (Fig. 19-18).
at elevated temperatures. Ultimate tensile strength The modulus of elasticity has units of stress/
(UTS), ductility, and toughness should also be strain and is reported for dental alloys in units of
reviewed, although these properties have less gigapascals (1 GPa = 109 Pa = 145,000 psi [pounds
relevance for metal-ceramic restorations. Except per square inch]). The unit of 1 Pa = 1 N/m2 is much
for hardness (and elevated temperature creep or dis- too small to be useful for the elastic modulus of
tortion), all these mechanical properties are deter- materials.
mined by loading a cast specimen of the alloy to the
point of failure in a tension test at room temperature. Proportional limit and yield strength
The physical property of thermal contraction is In standard testing practice, the proportional limit of
crucial in choosing an alloy that is compatible with an alloy is determined by placing a straight edge on
the porcelain selected. From a practical standpoint, the stress-strain plot (or performing this operation

tensile strength

Breaking strength

Proportional limit Necking

Yield strength
at 0.1% offset
Stress (MPa)

Slope: modulus of elasticity

(Young’s modulus)


Strain (cm/cm)
Fig. 19-17
Stress-strain curve.

or 0.2% (permanent strains of 0.001 or 0.002,

respectively). The unit for yield strength is megapas-
cal: 1 MPa = 106 Pa = 145 psi. As shown in Figure
19-17, the yield strength is obtained by constructing
a line parallel to the initial straight-line portion of the
stress-strain plot, starting with the specified value of
offset on the horizontal strain axis and then noting
the point of intersection with the curved portion of
Fig. 19-18 the plot. Because the 0.2% yield strength can be sub-
Fracture (arrow) resulted from flexing of the substructure of this stantially higher than the 0.1% yield strength for a
long-span partial fixed dental prosthesis. given alloy, depending on the rate of work harden-
ing (slope of the curved portion of the stress-strain
plot), manufacturers specify the offset value at which
with computer software) and noting the value at the yield strength was determined on the alloy pack-
which the plot first deviates from a straight line. The aging. The yield strength is often called the useful
proportional limit is often considered synonymous strength of a dental alloy, because stresses caused by
with the elastic limit, which corresponds to the biting forces should not exceed the yield strength
value of stress at which permanent deformation and result in permanent deformation of the alloy.
occurs. However, the value of the elastic limit is Although a sufficiently high value of yield strength is
highly dependent on the sensitivity of the strain- essential for a ceramic alloy, values that are too high
measuring apparatus. Moreover, precise location of create difficulties when the casting is adjusted in the
the proportional limit on the stress-strain plot is dental laboratory or dental office.
somewhat problematic. Consequently, dental alloy
manufacturers generally report the yield strength Hardness
(sometimes called offset yield strength), which corre- The Vickers hardness number (VHN) is generally
sponds to the amount of stress for a very small des- measured for dental alloys by means of a symmetric
ignated amount of permanent deformation, at 0.1% diamond pyramidal indenter. The VHN is the quo-

tient of the indenting load and the surface area of the curve (see Fig. 19-17) and represents the greatest
indentation, for which the square of the mean diag- value of stress that can be developed in the alloy
onal length is multiplied by a constant related to the without fracture. The unit of measure for UTS is
indenter geometry. The Knoop hardness number megapascal. Two types of stress-strain curves are
(KHN), obtained with a diamond indenter having observed for tensile testing of casting alloys. Alloys
long and short axes, is sometimes reported for dental of high ductility undergo substantial necking
alloys. For the KHN, only the length of the long diag- between the UTS and the breaking strength, as
onal of an indentation is measured, and the indent- shown in Figure 19-17. Other alloys of more limited
ing load is divided by the unrecovered projected ductility undergo much less necking, and the stress
area of the indentation. Harder alloys, which have continues to increase after the yield strength until
smaller indentations, have higher VHN and KHN fracture occurs at the UTS. The UTS has minimal
values. Conversion scales available for the two dif- practical importance for a ceramic alloy, because the
ferent hardness tests should be used with caution, corresponding permanent strain does not occur
because such conversions are alloy dependent. Both under clinical conditions for a restoration. Never-
the VHN and KHN are measures of the microhard- theless, this property is easy to measure, inasmuch
ness, in contrast to the older Brinell and Rockwell as a strain-gauge extensometer does not need to be
tests, in which much larger indenters are used to attached to the specimen, and manufacturers often
measure the macrohardness. When measuring quote the UTS.
the Vickers hardness of an alloy, an understanding
of the microstructure is crucial. Use of the large Percentage elongation
indenting load of 1 kg stipulated in standards for For metals, the ductility—the capability of undergo-
dental alloys provides information about the overall ing permanent tensile deformation—is measured in
hardness of the alloy microstructure, whereas light two ways when the test specimen is loaded to frac-
indenting loads (e.g., 10 g) can be used to obtain ture: as percentage elongation or as reduction in
information about the hardness of individual grains, area. For dental alloy castings, the ductility is meas-
constituents, or phases. The hardness is an impor- ured as the percentage of permanent elongation of
tant practical property, inasmuch as very high the starting gauge length, after the two portions of
values of hardness cause difficulty in the dental the fractured specimen are placed back together.
laboratory when the casting is ready to be finished. This is done because the castings typically fracture
Alloys with VHN or KHN values exceeding that of on inclined planes whose locations are determined
enamel (approximately 350) cause abrasive wear of by porosity, and a well-defined area for the fracture
opposing teeth. surface is not available for measurement of the
reduction in area. Obtaining precise registration of
Elevated-temperature creep and distortion the two fractured portions and defining the location
Castings undergo elevated-temperature dimensional of the original gauge length are difficult, and there-
changes during the porcelain firing cycles. These fore determining the percentage elongation to better
changes have many causes, such as bulk creep of the than the nearest 1% is difficult to achieve, although
alloy from several metallurgical mechanisms, distor- values to the nearest 0.1% have been quoted. In prin-
tion of the alloy as a result of the relief of residual ciple, the percentage elongation can be obtained
stresses from the casting process, and alloy oxidation. during the stress-strain test if a breakaway extens-
The latter may be higher for high-palladium and ometer is attached to the specimen. However, such
other alloys that undergo internal (bulk and grain extensometers are rarely available in dental materi-
boundary) oxidation with the formation of oxide pre- als laboratories. Figure 19-17 exaggerates the more
cipitate particles, in addition to the formation of an important elastic range of the stress-strain curve,
external oxide layer. Measuring the dimensional inasmuch as the values of percentage elongation for
changes that occur in alloys during the porcelain current casting alloys used for porcelain veneering
bonding sequence is tedious, but concern has been generally exceed 10% (Table 19-1). It is instructive to
expressed about the clinical fit for castings prepared draw the stress-strain plots for some alloys listed in
from certain alloys. Nevertheless, in most cases, an Table 19-1, because it is readily seen that the region
experienced dental laboratory should be able to vary of permanent deformation is much more extensive
techniques and obtain successful results. on the strain axis than the region of elastic defor-
mation. When considering the ease of adjustment
Ultimate tensile strength for cast restorations, the practitioner must remem-
The UTS (also called tensile strength or simply ber that both yield strength and percentage elonga-
strength) is the maximum point on the stress-strain tion are involved.18 Alloys with high yield strength

Will- Will-
Will- Ceram Ceram
Jelenko O Image 2 Ceram Y Argedent Cameo Veritas W-2 Argedent Olympia Eclipse W-3 Argedent
(Heraeus (DENTSPLY (Ivoclar Y86 (Heraeus (DENTSPLY (Ivoclar 52 (Heraeus (DENTSPLY (Ivoclar 65SF
Kulzer) Ceramco) Vivadent) (Argen) Kulzero) Ceramco) Vivadent) (Argen) Kulzer) Ceramco) Vivadent) (Argen)
Composition Au 87.3 Au 84.5 Au 84.0 Au 86 Au 52.4 Au 40.0 Au 44.8 Au 52.5 Au 51.5 Au 52.0 Au 48.7 Au 65

(weight %) Pt 4.5 Pt 6.9 Pt 7.1 Pt 10 Pd 26..9 Pd 45.0 Pd 40.5 Pd 26.9 Pd 38.4 Pd 37.5 Pd 39.6 Pd 26
Pd 5.9 Pd 5.0 Pd 5.7 Pd 1.9 Ag 16.0 Ag 5.0 Ag 5.9 Ag 16 In 8.5 In 10.6 In 8.7
Ag 1.0 Ag 1.0 Ag 1.5 In 2 In 2.5 In 3.3 In 2.5 Ga 1.5
Sn 2.0 Sn 2.2 Sn 2
Ga 1.8
(MPa) 480 670 440 470 450 420 540 590 550 580 500 550
(¥103 psi) 70 97 64 68 65 62 78 86 80 83 72 80
Modulus of
(GPa) 93 — — 76 130 — — 120 120 — — 120
(¥106 psi) 14 — — 11 19 — — 17 17 — — 17
(MPa) 550 — — 530 690 — — 690 790 — — 690
(¥103 psi) 80 — — 77 100 — — 100 120 — — 100
(%) 5 7 10 9 12 40 20 10 20 23 17 15
(VHN) 200 230 170 200 240 230 200 220 260 250 220 250
(g/cm3) 18.2 18.0 17.4 18.4 14.1 13.0 13.4 14.2 13.7 13.8 13.8 15.2
Chapter 19


Will-Ceram Spartan
Jelstar Applause W-1 Liberty Option Plus
(Heraeus (DENTSPLY (Ivoclar Argelite 55 (Heraeus (DENTSPLY (Ivoclar Argelite 76+
Kulzer) Ceramco) Vivadent) (Argen) Kulzer) Ceramco) Vivadent) (Argen)

Composition Pd 59.8 Pd 54.9 Pd 53.3 Pd 55 Pd 75.9 Pd 79 Pd 78.8 Pd 75.7
(weight %) Ag 28.0 Ag 35.0 Ag 37.7 Ag 34 Cu 10.0 Cu 10 Cu 10.0 Cu 7.5

Sn 6.0 Sn 8.5 In 6 Ga 5.5 Ga 9* Ga 9.0 Ga 6.3
In 6.0 Sn 3 Sn 6.0 Au 2 Au 2.0 In 8
Zn 1 Au 2.0 B << 1* B0 Au 1.8
Yield strength
(MPa) 440 590 480 720 690 900 800 1100
(¥103 psi) 64 86 70 100 100 130 120 160

Modulus of

(GPa) 120 — — 120 140 — — 130
(¥106 psi) 18 — — 17 20 — — 19
Ultimate tensile
(MPa) 660 — — 970 1,000 — — 1,300
(¥103 psi) 95 — — 140 140 — — 190
Elongation (%) 18 10 11 10 20 23 20 16
Hardness: Vickers
hardness number
(VHN) 220 240 240 330 340 420 310 320
Density (g/cm ) 10.7 10.8 11.1 11.1 10.7 10.6 10.7 11.2

Table 9-1—cont’d


Legacy Protocol Argelite Argeloy NP Lite-Cast Genesis II Argeloy NP
(Heraeus (Ivoclar 80 + 5 Argeloy NP (Be-Free) (Ivoclar (Heraeus Special
Kulzer) Vivadent) (Argen) (Argen) (Argen) Vivadent) Kulzer) (Argen)

Composition Pd 85.2 Pd 75.2 Pd 79.9 Ni 76 Ni 54 Ni 68.5 Co 52.6 Co 59.5
(weight %) Ga 10.0 Ga 6.0 Ga 6.3 Cr 14 Cr 22 Cr 15.5 Cr 27.5 Cr 31.5
In 1.1 In 6.0 In 6.5 Mo 6 Mo 9 Mo 14.0 W 12.0 Mo 5
Au 2.0 Au 6.0 Au 5 Al 2 Fe 4 Al 1.0 Ru 2.5 Si 2
Ag 6.5 Ag 1.8 Be 1.8 Nb 4 Ga 2.5 Mn 1
Ta 4 Cu 1.0
Fe 1.0
Yield strength 720 500 590 550 360 310 520 450
(MPa) (¥103 psi) 100 72 86 80 52 45 75 65
Modulus of 130 — 120 190 — — 170 —
elasticity (GPa) 19 — 17 28 — — 25 —
(¥ 106 psi)
Ultimate tensile 930 — 810 1,100 580 — 760 760
strength (MPa) 140 — 120 160 84 — 110 110
(¥103 psi)
Elongation (%) 25 34 33 12–15 6–7 28 15 9
Hardness: 280 240 260 240 240 180 350 280
number (VHN)
Density (g/cm3) 10.9 11.0 11.5 7.8 8.6 8.5 8.8 8.8

Notes: Composition information was obtained from manufacturer websites except as noted. Small amounts (<1 wt. %) of grain-refining elements (ruthenium, iridium, and rhenium) in noble alloys and other elements are not shown.
Mechanical properties are taken from websites and correspond to the porcelain-fired or hardened condition, or equivalently testing according to American National Standards Institute/American Dental Association Specification No.
38/International Organization for Standardization (ISO) Standard 9693. Yield strength values generally correspond to 0.2% offset, and values of mechanical properties have been rounded to two significant figures to reflect the level of
accuracy for experimental measurement. No values for modulus of elasticity and ultimate tensile strength are now provided for some alloys because of difficulty in determining accurate values for the former and lack of clinical
relevance for the latter.
Heraeus Kulzer (Armonk, New York; now markets the former Jelenko alloys.
DENTSPLY Ceramco (York, Pennsylvania; now markets the former Ney alloys.
DENTSPLY Austenal (York, Pennsylvania; also markets Ni-Cr and Co-Cr alloys for ceramic veneering, but detailed compositions and mechanical properties are not given on the website.
Ivoclar Vivadent (Amherst, New York; now markets the former Williams/Ivoclar alloys.
Argen (San Diego, California; has purchased the division of Pentron Corporation that made dental alloys. The alloys in this table are different from those in the third edition.
*The amount of gallium in Option is not provided on the DENTSPLY Ceramco website but is known to be approximately 9% from Carr and Brantley.20 The very low amount of boron was provided in a private communication with the
Al, aluminum; B, boron; Be, beryllium; Fe, iron; In, indium; Mn, manganese; Mo, molybdenum; Nb, niobium; Ru, ruthenium; Si, silicon; Sn, tin; Ta, tantalum; W, tungsten; Zn, zinc.

cannot be burnished by hand, even if they have high Available Alloy Systems
values of percentage elongation.
The nomenclature for dental casting alloys usually
Toughness creates confusion. Classifying noble and base metal
Historically, toughness, which is the total area under casting alloys according to the mechanism for corro-
the stress-strain curve, was considered an important sion resistance is the preferred method of catego-
property of casting alloys. However, with the focus rization. The gold-based and palladium-based noble
on stresses that do not exceed the yield strength, this metal casting alloys achieve corrosion resistance
property no longer receives as much attention. The because of the inherent nobility of the gold and
toughness represents the total energy per unit palladium atoms, which do not form stable oxides
volume necessary to fracture the alloy and has units at room temperature. In contrast, the conventional
of stress ¥ strain, or megapascals. For an alloy that base metal casting alloys, in which nickel and cobalt
does not work harden greatly and has substantial are the principal elements and chromium is present
ductility, toughness is approximately equal to UTS ¥ to provide corrosion resistance, oxidize rapidly to
elongation. Determining toughness from stress- form a passivating chromium oxide surface layer that
strain plots is laborious, and manufacturers do not blocks the diffusion of oxygen and prevents corro-
report this property. sion of the underlying metal.
Historically, terms such as precious, semiprecious,
Thermal expansion/contraction and nonprecious have been used to describe dental
The linear coefficient of thermal expansion is a crucial casting alloys. Such precious or semiprecious alloys
property for an alloy that is to be bonded to dental usually contained a greater quantity of silver, along
porcelain. These coefficients should be closely with more palladium and a reduced gold content.
matched to within about 0.5 ¥ 10-6/° C below the glass Silver, which is not a noble metal in the oral envi-
transition temperature of the porcelain (approximately ronment, assumes some noble metal character in
500° to 600° C, depending on the cooling rate), at the presence of palladium. The terms precious, semi-
which the ceramic can no longer undergo viscous flow precious, and nonprecious, which refer to unit metal
to relieve thermal incompatibility stresses. The cost, are now less preferable than the terms noble
thermal contraction coefficient (a), generally assumed and base metals, which refer to the electrochemical
to be the same as that for thermal expansion, should character of the alloys.
be slightly higher for the metal so that the ceramic is The major noble metals in dental alloys are gold,
in a state of beneficial residual compressive stress at platinum, and palladium. (The other noble metals
room temperature. Values of a typically range from are iridium, ruthenium, rhodium, and osmium.) The
13.5 to 14.5 ¥ 10-6/° C for metals and 13.0 to 14.0 ¥ total percentage of gold, platinum, and palladium in
10-6/° C for porcelains. a dental alloy is referred to as the noble metal content.
Iridium (much less than 1% by weight) and ruthe-
Density nium (up to about 1%) are used as grain-refining ele-
Density is the ratio of mass to volume; specific ments in gold-based and palladium-based casting
gravity is the ratio of the density of a substance to the alloys, respectively. The original metal-ceramic alloy
density of water. Densities for the important types compositions (e.g., Jelenko “O,” described in Table
of noble and base metal casting alloys are provided 19-1) had approximately 98% noble metal content by
in Table 19-1. The high–gold content alloys have weight. Rapid increases in the price of gold during
much higher densities than the low–gold content, the 1970s stimulated the development of lower gold
palladium-based, and base metal casting alloys. content (from about 85% to 50% by weight) alloys
This is because gold has a much higher density and base metal alloys for fixed prosthodontics.19
(19.3 g/cm3) than palladium (12.0 g/cm3), nickel During the 1980s, the high-palladium alloys were
(8.9 g/cm3), and cobalt (8.8 g/cm3). These differ- developed as economic alternatives to the gold-
ences in density have two consequences. First, for based alloys.20*
cast restorations of the same size and configuration,
less mass of metal is required for the lower density
alloy; the difference in the metal cost for a restora- *In January 2006, the price of palladium was approximately $275 per Troy
tion can be substantial when both the unit metal cost ounce, in comparison with a price of approximately $555 per Troy ounce
and the density difference are considered. Second, for gold. In January 1997, the price of palladium was $120 an ounce, which
increased to approximately $1000 per ounce by January 2001 and
additional winding of the spring on the centrifugal then began to decline thereafter. The corresponding rapid increases in
casting machine is necessary to achieve the needed palladium dental alloy prices caused many problems for alloy selection
casting pressure for the lower density alloys. by dentists and the dental laboratory industry.

Table 19-2 CLASSIFICATION FOR DENTAL and became oxidized. Subsequent chemical
CASTING ALLOYS bonding was achieved between this oxide layer and
the dental porcelain (see Chapter 24). Although
Noble metal content:
these alloys have excellent corrosion resistance, they
Au, Pt, Pd (minimum
are susceptible to some dimensional changes during
percentage by weight)
the porcelain firing cycles and are not recommended
High-noble metal 60% (>40% gold) for multiple-unit FDP restorations.
Noble metal 25% (no gold Au-Pd-Ag
requirement) These were the first lower gold content alternative
Predominantly base <25% (no gold alloys to be widely used in the 1970s. Platinum was
metal requirement) eliminated from the alloy compositions, and the gold
content was reduced to about 50%, with correspond-
Au, gold; Pd, palladium; Pt, platinum.
ing increases in the amounts of palladium and
silver.23,24 Some alloy strengthening was achieved by
solid solution hardening from the dissimilar atomic
A classification system21 developed by the sizes of the three major elements (gold, palladium,
American Dental Association for casting alloys is and silver), which form solid solutions with each
presented in Table 19-2 and includes alloys for all- other. Additional solid solution strengthening was
metal and metal-ceramic restorations. Because the hypothesized to be caused by tin or indium, which
classification is based solely on noble metal content were again incorporated as oxidizable elements to
and ignores other, often crucial alloying elements, provide porcelain bonding. Further alloy strength-
general statements cannot be made about mechani- ening may be caused by precipitates formed by
cal properties, clinical performance, and biocom- these elements. Although these alloys have excellent
patibility, even within each of the three groups in mechanical properties and porcelain adherence,
Table 19-2. Hundreds of dental alloys are commer- green discoloration (resulting from diffusion of silver
cially available, and appropriate testing is necessary atoms into the porcelain) has been reported for some
to characterize the properties, safety, and efficacy of alloy-porcelain combinations.25 Possible reasons for
each. However, when each of these major groups is this effect may be the high sodium concentration of
further subdivided into alloy types, some accurate the porcelain or the relative sizes of the metal ions
generalizations are possible. They are discussed in in the porcelain. The discolored region can be
the following sections. ground away, but this involves an additional proc-
essing step. In addition, silver vapor generated in the
High-noble metal alloys porcelain furnace during processing can contami-
The high-noble metal content alloys contain a nate the muffle, and periodic purging of the furnace
minimum of 60% by weight of noble elements; at with a carbon block is required. Green discoloration
least 40% is gold. There are three systems in this has apparently been eliminated in some porcelain
class: gold-platinum-palladium (Au-Pt-Pd), gold- compositions by substituting potassium ions for
palladium-silver (Au-Pd-Ag), and gold-palladium sodium ions; the larger potassium ions impede the
(Au-Pd), in the historical order of their development. diffusion of silver into the porcelain.
Table 19-1 lists some mechanical properties and the Au-Pd
density for representative alloys of each system. Gold-palladium alloys that are silver-free were devel-
Au-Pt-Pd oped during the late 1970s and have become very
As previously noted, these were the first casting popular. Alloy strengthening is achieved with a
alloys formulated to bond with dental porcelain. combination of solid solution hardening and
Because of concern about adverse effects on the microstructural precipitates. The hardness (assumed
color of dental porcelain, copper, which was tradi- to be related to strength) of these alloys is inde-
tionally used for strengthening the high-gold casting pendent of heat-treatment temperature within the
alloys for all-metal restorations, could not be incor- porcelain-firing range, unlike that of Au-Pd-Ag
porated in the ceramic alloy compositions. Instead, alloys.24 The Au-Pd alloys have excellent mechanical
these alloys were strengthened by precipitates of an properties, elevated-temperature creep behavior,26
iron-platinum (Fe-Pt) intermetallic compound.22 and porcelain adherence,27 without the green dis-
Porcelain adherence was achieved by incorporating coloration associated with Au-Pd-Ag alloys.
tin and indium in the alloys, in addition to the con- Discussion
tribution from iron. During the initial alloy oxidation The data in Table 19-1 show that the Au-Pd and Au-
step for the porcelain firing cycles, tin and indium Pd-Ag alloys, in comparison with the Au-Pt-Pd alloys,
(as well as some iron) diffused to the alloy surface generally have higher values of yield strength and

modulus of elasticity, along with lower density. dedicated to individual alloys is recommended.20
Consequently FDP restorations fabricated from Carbon-containing investments should not be used,
alloys in the former two groups are more resistant to because the incorporation of very small amounts of
masticatory forces and undergo less bending de- carbon in these alloys degrades the bond strength
flection. They also have the economic advantage of with porcelain.29 The Pd-Cu-Ga alloys appear to have
providing more restorations per unit of alloy cost. casting accuracy comparable with that of the high-
Selection of the proper porcelain for Au-Pd-Ag alloys noble metal alloys.30
is essential if discoloration problems are to be Measurements31,32 of the mechanical properties
avoided. of some Pd-Cu-Ga alloys have produced values of
yield strength, modulus of elasticity, and percentage
Noble metal alloys elongation that differ from values in Table 19-1. This
The noble metal alloys have a minimum of 25% suggests some technique sensitivity in the fabrica-
by weight of noble metal, with no requirement tion of cast specimens for the tension test. Although
for gold percentage. There are three alloy systems in a near-surface eutectic structure was present in
this class: palladium-silver (Pd-Ag), palladium- Pd-Cu-Ga alloy castings that simulated copings for
copper-gallium (Pd-Cu-Ga), and palladium-gallium maxillary incisors,20 this constituent was absent in
(Pd-Ga), in the historical order of their development. the 3-mm diameter cast specimens for the tension
Table 19-1 lists some mechanical properties and the test.31,32 Some Pd-Cu-Ga alloys have hardness values
density for representative alloys of each system. comparable with or exceeding that of tooth enamel,
Pd-Ag and castings from these alloys may be difficult to
These alloys, developed in the 1970s, continued finish in the dental laboratory. In addition, chairside
the trend by manufacturers of reducing the gold adjustments may be difficult for patients. However,
content (to between 0% and 2% by weight), with substitution of indium for tin yields Pd-Cu-Ga alloys
corresponding increases in the palladium and with much lower hardness (VHN ª 270).33 All these
silver contents.28 A small percentage of gold in these alloys achieve substantial hardening by solid-
alloys and the high-palladium alloys has little effect solution incorporation of other elements within the
on their properties but may facilitate third-party palladium crystal structure. The hardest Pd-Cu-Ga
payments. As previously noted, in the presence of alloys (VHN > 300) contain a hard grain boundary
palladium, silver appears to assume noble metal phase whose composition is close to that of Pd5Ga2.33
character, which is beneficial for corrosion resist- Transmission electron microscopic studies indicate
ance. Because of their high silver content (approxi- that representative high-palladium alloys have the
mately 30% to 35% by weight), these alloys have been same bulk ultrastructure.34 Analyses of x-ray diffrac-
called semiprecious, a term that should no longer tion patterns have revealed that oxidized Pd-Cu-Ga
be used. In comparison with the Au-Pd-Ag and Au- alloys have complex internal oxidation regions that
Pd alloys, the Pd-Ag alloys have similar values of can contain up to five different oxide phases.35
yield strength and modulus of elasticity and much Oxides of copper, gallium, tin, indium, and even
lower density values. Because of their high silver palladium that were formed under the conditions
contents, porcelain greening and furnace contami- present in the porcelain furnace were subsequently
nation can result during fabrication of partial detected in the oxidized alloys at room temperature.
FDP restorations, unless the porcelain is carefully The results of creep experiments on the Pd-Cu-Ga
selected. Nevertheless, these alloys are frequently alloys have been mixed.26 The creep rates associated
chosen as a compromise between the more expen- with relatively high thermal incompatibility stresses
sive high-noble alloys and the relatively inexpensive near the glass transition temperature of dental porce-
base metal alloys. lain were high for two Pd-Cu-Ga alloys, whereas
Pd-Cu-Ga these alloys had excellent creep resistance at high
The Pd-Cu-Ga alloys contain more than 70% by temperatures and low stresses simulating the deflec-
weight of palladium and were developed in the early tion of a long-span FDP as a result of gravity during
1980s as economical alternatives to the gold-based processing.
alloys.20 The melting point of palladium (1555° C) is Pd-Ga
much higher than that of gold (1064° C); gallium has The copper-free Pd-Ga alloys were subsequently
a melting point of 30° C. The addition of gallium to developed during the 1980s to provide composi-
palladium yields high-palladium alloys that can be tions with lower hardness than that of the initial
fused and cast with the same dental laboratory tech- Pd-Cu-Ga formulations. The hard Pd5Ga2 phase
nology developed for the gold-based casting alloys. is absent in these alloys, which are strengthened
Multiorifice torches are necessary to fuse the high- by solid solution hardening.33 The alloys have a
palladium alloys, and the use of ceramic crucibles complex fine precipitate structure at the grain

boundaries,20,36 and their mechanical properties are 180 to 240. Consequently, the selection of a specific
generally more similar to those of Pd-Ag alloys than brand of Ni-Cr alloy depends on the clinical appli-
to the Pd-Cu-Ga alloys. In comparison with the cation. If burnishing or extended finishing of a
Pd-Ga alloys, porcelain adherence is superior for the crown is anticipated, a brand with a relatively low
Pd-Cu-Ga alloys.27 A palladium-gallium-cobalt (Pd- yield strength and hardness should be used.
Ga-Co) alloy37 has a particularly dark oxide that One benefit of these alloys is that their values of
is more difficult to mask with dental porcelain, modulus of elasticity are much higher than those
and this alloy did not achieve widespread clinical of the noble metal alloys. Therefore, long-span fixed
acceptance. prostheses fabricated from Ni-Cr alloys undergo
Discussion much less flexure than do similar prostheses fabri-
In one study in which the dimensional changes cated from noble metal alloys, with less likelihood of
at various stages of the simulated porcelain firing fracture of the brittle dental porcelain component.
cycles were compared for copings for metal-ceramic These base metal casting alloys are generally con-
single-unit restorations of selected high-palladium sidered more technique sensitive and difficult to cast
alloys, investigators found that most of the selected than the noble metal casting alloys. However, this
high-palladium alloys had acceptable high-tempera- assessment may reflect the lack of experience of
ture distortion.31,38 Because of the considerable price some dental laboratories with the Ni-Cr alloys,
volatility for palladium since the mid-1990s, dentists because excellent results for castability of these
and dental laboratories have tended to select gold- alloys have been published.46 Therefore, the choice
palladium, palladium-silver, and lower gold content of dental laboratory is particularly important when
alloys, rather than high-palladium alloys. Currently, these alloys are selected.
the unit metal cost of gold is substantially higher Beryllium
than that of palladium, and high-palladium alloys Many Ni-Cr alloy formulations contain up to 2% by
again have a significant economic advantage over weight of beryllium. The major reason for incor-
gold-palladium alloys. When the high-palladium porating this element in the alloy is to lower the
alloys were introduced in the 1980s, the unit metal melting range and to decrease the viscosity of the
cost was between half and one third of the Au-Pd molten alloy, thereby improving its castability. Beryl-
alloys.20 However, caution is needed with the Pd-Ag lium also provides strengthening and affects the
alloys to prevent porcelain from acquiring green thickness of the oxide layer, when the alloy is oxi-
discoloration. Some biocompatibility concerns have dized for porcelain firing. The latter is an important
been raised about the high-palladium alloys, partic- consideration for base metal casting alloys, which
ularly in Germany with the Pd-Cu-Ga alloys. Review can form much thicker oxide layers than noble metal
articles39,40 suggest that there are minimal health casting alloys. Fracture through the oxide layer may
hazards associated with the high-palladium alloys, occur and cause failure of the base metal-ceramic
and this has been borne out by extensive research41 restoration.
involving cell culture42,43 and animal implantation44 The use of beryllium has created some doubt
methods. about the safety of some Ni-Cr alloys. Of importance:
When the densities of nickel (8.9 g/cm3) and
Predominantly base metal alloys chromium (7.2 g/cm3) are compared with that of
Table 19-2 defines these alloys (sometimes termed beryllium (1.8 g/cm3), 2% by weight of beryllium in
nonprecious) as having less than 25% by weight of the alloy composition can be equivalent to nearly
noble metal with no requirement for gold. Most of 10% beryllium on an atomic basis. Consequently, the
these alloys used for fixed prosthodontics are nickel- atomic proportion of beryllium atoms in these alloy
chromium (Ni-Cr) alloys, but some cobalt-chromium compositions can be relatively large.
(Co-Cr) alloys have also been formulated for porce- Nickel
lain application. The complex metallurgy of these The U.S. Federal Standard for exposure to metallic
alloys is described in a review article.45 nickel and soluble nickel compounds (1 mg/m3
Ni-Cr for an 8-hour time-weighted average concentration)
Yield strength, hardness, and modulus of elasticity is much higher than the National Institute for
can be greatly affected by small differences in weight Occupational Safety and Health recommendation
percentages of minor elemental components among for such exposure (15 mg/m3 for a 10-hour time-
the compositions of these alloys. Table 19-1 illus- weighted average workday). Occupational exposure
trates some of these variations. For example, values of refinery workers to nickel has been associated
of yield strength for the representative alloys listed with lung and nasal cancer. Acute effects of exposure
vary from 310 to 550 MPa, and the VHN varies from to nickel include skin sensitization that can lead to

chronic eczema. Therefore, as a health precaution, expensive restorations.* Alloys studied have princi-
an operator should wear a mask and use efficient pally been commercially pure titanium, which con-
suction when grinding and finishing a dental nickel- tains an upper limit of 1% impurities for American
base alloy. Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) Grade 4,
It has been reported that 9% of the female popu- and the highly popular engineering alloy titanium–
lation and 0.9% of the male population are sensitive 6% aluminum–4% vanadium (Ti-6Al-4V).53 There
to nickel.47 This prompts a question: Are such indi- has been substantial interest in the titanium–6% alu-
viduals likely to manifest an adverse reaction to minum–7% niobium (Ti-6Al-7Nb) alloy, which was
dental Ni-Cr alloys? In a 20-patient clinical study48 advocated because of potential concern with cyto-
to investigate this question, each of 10 controls (who toxicity of vanadium and the poor wear resistance of
had no known sensitivity to nickel) showed a nega- commercially pure titanium.54–56
tive dermal response and a negative intraoral The dental casting of titanium and titanium alloys
response to a dental Ni-Cr alloy. Of 10 patients with poses special problems because of the high melting
a known sensitivity, 8 showed a positive dermal point of titanium (1668° C) and its strong tendency
response to the alloy. When these patients wore an to oxidize and react with other materials.57 Special
intraoral appliance containing the Ni-Cr alloy, 30% casting machines that provide either a vacuum envi-
manifested an allergic response within 48 hours. ronment or an argon atmosphere must be used. Both
According to the American Dental Association’s vacuum/argon pressure and centrifugal dental
labeling requirement for base metal alloys that casting machines have been developed, and both
contain nickel, such alloys should not be used in argon-arc melting and induction melting have been
individuals with known nickel sensitivity. Another used to fuse titanium and titanium alloys.58,59 Studies
question now arises: Can patients who are not aller- have also discussed the use of face coats on the wax
gic to nickel become sensitive to it from fixed pros- pattern,57,60,61 casting into low-temperature (350° C)
theses made with nickel-containing alloys? phosphate-bonded investments,62 effects of the pres-
In one investigation,49 researchers found that sure differential for the argon gas pressure,63 per-
Ni-Cr alloys not containing beryllium were more meability of the investment,64 and mold venting.65
resistant than beryllium-containing alloys to in vitro Good accuracy for titanium castings on their dies
corrosion. The four alloys studied showed lower cor- can be achieved with the proper choice of invest-
rosion rates in cell culture solutions after cold solu- ment.62,66 A study has compared commercially
tion sterilization. Although the corrosion products pure titanium cast with helium, argon, krypton,
released from the alloys did not alter the cellular and xenon atmospheres and found that while
structure and viability of human gingival fibroblasts, the microstructure is not affected, porosity and
reductions in cellular proliferation were observed. mechanical properties depend upon gas type and
The authors concluded that there still exist biocom- pressure.67 Selecting a dental laboratory experi-
patibility concerns relating to the exposure of local enced in fabricating these castings is essential, and
and systemic tissues to elevated levels of corrosion such dental laboratories are not common in the
products from the Ni-Cr alloys. United States. Further research is needed to opti-
Co-Cr mize the metallurgical structure and casting tech-
The potential health problems associated with nology for titanium alloys, which have a dendritic
beryllium- and nickel-containing alloys have led to microstructure57 resulting from the lack of a suitable
the development of another alternative base metal grain-refining element. A very hard near-surface
alloy system: cobalt-chromium.50,51 The representa- region (termed a case) that can exceed 50 mm
tive Co-Cr alloys listed in Table 19-1 have higher in thickness is also present on the castings as a result
hardness than the Ni-Cr alloys listed, which suggests of reaction of the titanium alloy with the investment
that finishing restorations made with the former (and perhaps also with the residual atmosphere
alloys may be more difficult. in the casting machine).57,60 One study61 has
Titanium shown that use of a zirconia-based coating on the
Titanium-based alloys have been studied since the wax pattern substantially reduced the thickness
late 1970s as potential casting alloys.52 Advantages of the complex reaction layer with the investment
of titanium and titanium alloys include excellent bio- and yielded titanium castings with a high-quality
compatibility and corrosion resistance, which results surface.
from the presence of a thin, adherent, passivating • • •
surface layer of TiO2. The low density (4.5 g/cm3)
of titanium, in comparison with that of gold or pal- *However, the laboratory cost of fabricating cast restorations from titanium
ladium, also results in lighter and potentially less alloys may be high.



Fig. 19-19
Technique review. A, The restorations are waxed to anatomic contour. B, The patterns are troughed to obtain correct porcelain thick-
ness in the completed restoration. C, The cut-back is completed. D, The margins are finalized before investing.

REVIEW OF TECHNIQUE 4. The margins are finalized before investing (Fig.

Figure 19-19 summarizes the steps involved in pro-
ducing wax patterns for metal-ceramic restorations.
1. The restorations are waxed to anatomic contour SUMMARY
(see Fig. 19-19A). Framework design for metal-ceramic restorations
2. The patterns are troughed to obtain correct porce- must be based on an understanding of fundamental
lain thickness in the completed restoration (Fig. material properties. Restorations should be waxed
19-19B). to anatomic contour and then cut back in the area
3. The cut-back is completed (Fig. 19-19C). that is to be veneered. This creates an even porcelain

1. Explain all reasons for full-contour waxing before cutting back a wax pattern for a metal-ceramic restoration.
2. Why should the framework of a metal-ceramic crown not be of consistent thickness on the veneering surface?
3. How does the practitioner determine the location of the metal-ceramic interface? Interproximally on a max-
illary central incisor? Interproximally on a maxillary premolar? Occlusally on a mandibular premolar? Lingually
on a maxillary canine?
4. Discuss the appearance of the stress-strain curve for a ductile dental alloy. What does it mean when the
straight portion of the curve is steeper or more horizontal? What is the importance of a flatter curve versus
a curve with a greater slope after the initial linear portion of the plot? What does it mean if the maximum
point of the curve is higher or lower? What does the total surface area under the curve signify?
5. Explain the classification of alloy systems for metal-ceramic restorations. Select two categories, and give two
examples of alloys in each category. Contrast the physical properties of the alloys chosen, and provide exam-
ples of recommended use.
6. Briefly discuss the health hazards that can be associated with the various alloys used in the metal-ceramic

thickness, which provides superior mechanical bio·com·pat·i·ble \bı̄¢ō-kom-păt¢a-bal\ adj: capable of

properties in the completed restoration while simul- existing in harmony with the surrounding biologic
taneously standardizing shade reproduction. environment
bur·nish·ibil·i·ty \bûr¢nı̆sh-a-bı̆l¢ı̆-tē\ n: the ease with
GLOSSARY* which a material can be burnished
airborne-particle abrasion \âr¢bôrn¢ pär¢tı̆-kal a- butt \bŭt\v (14c): to bring any two flat-ended surfaces into
brā¢zhun\: the process of altering the surface of a mate- contact without overlapping, as in a butt joint
rial through the use of abrasive particles propelled by
car·at \kăr¢at\ n (15c): a standard of gold fineness. The
compressed air or other gases
percentage of gold in an alloy, stated in parts per 24.
al·loy \ăl¢oi¢, a-loi¢\ n (14c): a mixture of two or more Pure gold is designated 24 carat
metals or metalloids that are mutually soluble in the
molten state; distinguished as binary, ternary, quater- centric stop \sĕn¢trı̆k stŏp\: opposing cuspal/fossae con-
nary, etc., depending on the number of metals within the tacts that maintain the occlusal vertical dimension
mixture. Alloying elements are added to alter the hard- between the opposing arches
ness, strength, and toughness of a metallic element, thus compressive stress \kŏm-prĕs¢ı̆v strĕs\: the internal
obtaining properties not found in the pure metal. Alloys induced force that opposes the shortening of a material
may also be classified on the basis of their behavior when in a direction parallel to the direction of the stresses; any
solidified—usage: see BASE METAL, NOBLE METAL induced force per unit area that resists deformation
alloying element \a-loi¢ı̆ng ĕl¢a-ment\ (1998): metallic or caused by a load that tends to compress or shorten a
non-metallic elements added to or retained by a pure body
metal for the purpose of giving that metal special 1
cop·ing \kō¢pı̆ng\ n: 1: a long, enveloping ecclesiastical
properties vestment 2a: something resembling a cope (as by con-
aluminum oxide \a-lōō¢mi-num ŏk¢sı̄d¢\: 1: a metallic cealing or covering) 2b: coping
oxide constituent of dental porcelain that increases hard- 2
cop·ing \kō¢pı̆ng\ n (ca. 1909): a thin covering or crown—
ness and viscosity 2: a high strength ceramic crystal dis- usage: see C. IMPRESSION, TRANSFER C.
persed throughout a glassy phase to increase its strength
as in aluminous dental porcelain used to fabricate cor·rode \ka-rōd\ vt (15c): 1: deterioration of a metal due
aluminous porcelain crowns 3: a finely ground ceramic to an electrochemical reaction within its environment 2:
particle (frequently 50 um) often used in conjunction to eat away by degrees as if by gnawing 3: to wear away
with air-borne particle abrasion of metal castings before gradually usually by chemical action
the application of porcelain as with metal ceramic cor·ro·sion \ka-rō¢zhen\ n (15c): the action, process, or
restorations effect of corroding; a product of corroding; the loss of
an·neal \a-nēl¢\ vt (1580): 1: to heat a material, such as elemental constituents to the adjacent environment
metal or glass, followed by controlled cooling to remove 2
creep \krēp\ n (1818): the slow change in dimensions of
internal stresses and create a desired degree of tough- an object due to prolonged exposure to high tempera-
ness, temper, or softness to a material 2: to heat a mate- ture or stress
rial, such as gold foil, to volatilize and drive off impurities
from its surface, thus increasing its cohesive properties. de·gas \dē-găs¢\ vt; de·gassed \dē-găsd¢\ pt., pp;
This process is termed degassing 3: to homogenize an de·gassing \dē-găs¢ing\ ppr (1920): 1: to remove gas
amalgam alloy by heating in an oven from an object or substance 2: the name commonly used
to denote the first heat cycle (oxidation cycle) in
base metal \bās mĕt¢l\: any metallic element that does fabrication of a metal ceramic restoration that removes
not resist tarnish and corrosion—see NOBLE METAL
surface impurities from the metallic component and pro-
bio·ac·cept·ability \bı̄¢ō-ăk-sĕp¢ta-bı̆l¢ı̆-tē¢\ (1998): the duces surface oxides prior to the application of opaque
quality of compatibility in a living environment in spite porcelain
of adverse or unwanted side effects
de·pas·siv·a·tion \dē-păs¢sı̆-vā¢shun\ n: loss of corrosion
protection due to damage or removal of the protective
oxide surface film on a passivated metal
*Reprinted in part from The Journal of Prosthetic Dentistry, Vol. 94, No. 1,
The Glossary of Prosthodontic Terms, 8th Edition, pp. 10–81, © 2005,
duc·til·i·ty \dŭk-tı̆l¢ı̆-tē\ n (14c): the ability of a material to
with permission from The Editorial Council of The Journal of Prosthetic withstand permanent deformation under a tensile load
Dentistry. without rupture; ability of a material to be plastically

strained in tension. A material is brittle if it does not is measured to determine the hardness. This test is suit-
have appreciable plastic deformation in tension before able for most classes of materials including brittle and
rupture elastomeric
Knoop F, Peters CG, Emerson WB. A sensitive pyram-
dwt: abbr [denarius + weight] pennyweight; called also pen-
idal diamond tool for indentation measurements. J Res
nyweight; a measurement of weight in the troy system
Nat Bur Stand 1939;12:39–45.
equal to 24 grains, or 0.05 ounce. Its metric equivalent
is 1.555 grams mal·le·a·ble \măl¢ē-a-bal\ adj (14c): capable of being
extended or shaped with a hammer or with the pressure
elastic limit \ı̆-lăs¢tı̆k lı̆m¢it\: the greatest stress to which
of rollers
a material may be subjected and still be capable of
returning to its original dimensions when such forces are met·al \mĕt¢l\ n (13c): any strong and relatively ductile
released substance that provides electropositive ions to a corro-
sive environment and that can be polished to a high
elastic modulus \ı̆-lăs¢tı̆k mŏj¢a-lus\: the stiffness or flexi-
luster. Characterized by metallic atomic bonding
bility of a material within the elastic range. Within the
elastic range, the material deforms in direct proportion modulus of elasticity \mŏj¢a-las ŭv ı̆-lă-stı̆s¢ı̆-tē, ē-lă-\: in
to the stress applied as represented by Hooke’s law metallurgy, the coefficient found by dividing the unit
stress, at any point up to the proportional limit, by its
e·las·tic·i·ty \ı̆-lă-stı̆s¢ı̆-tē\ n (1664): the quality that allows
corresponding unit of elongation (tension) or strain. A
a structure or material to return to its original form on
ratio of stress to strain. As the modulus of elasticity rises,
removal of an external force—see MODULUS OF E.
the material becomes more rigid
e·lon·ga·tion \ı̆-lông¢gā¢shun\ n (14c) 1: deformation as a
modulus of resilience \mŏj¢a-las ŭv rı̆-zı̆l-yans\: the
result of tensile force application 2: the degree to which
work or energy required to stress a cubic inch of
a material will stretch before breaking 3: the over erup-
material (in one direction only) from zero up to the pro-
tion of a tooth
portional limit of the material, measured by the ability
fa·tigue \fa-tēg¢\: the breaking or fracturing of a material of the material to withstand the momentary effect of an
caused by repeated cyclic or applied loads below the impact load while stresses remain within the propor-
yield limit; usually viewed initially as minute cracks fol- tional limit
lowed by tearing and rupture; also termed brittle failure
noble metal \nō¢bal mĕt¢l\: those metal elements that
or fracture <metal~>—see FAILURE
resist oxidation, tarnish, and corrosion during heating,
fracture strength \frăk¢chur strĕngkth\: strength at frac- casting, or soldering and when used intraorally; examples
ture based on the original dimensions of the specimen include gold and platinum—comp BASE METAL

frame·work \frām¢wûrk\ n (1644): 1. an interior or im- nonprecious metal: see BASE METAL
bedded , openwork, or structural frame used to support
some other object or objects 2. the skeletal portion
pas·si·vate \păs¢ı̆-vāt\ vt -at·ed; -at·ing (1913): 1: to render
inactive or less reactive 2: to protect against contamina-
of prosthesis (usually metal, sometimes ceramic)
tion by coating or surface treating
around which and to which are attached the remaining
portions of the prosthesis to produce a finished restora- precious metal \prĕsh¢as mĕt¢l\: a metal containing pri-
tion—usage: for dental prostheses, the framework may be marily elements of the platinum group, gold, and silver
any metal or combination of metals, with various forms
including designed slots, incorporated corrective angula- precious metal alloy \prĕsh¢as mĕt¢l ăl¢oi¢, a-loi¢\: an alloy
tion patterns etc. which provide ridgity to a prosthesis. predominantly composed of elements considered pre-
Such a framework can be made in whole or made of cious, i.e., gold, the six metals of the platinum group (plat-
component parts. Frequently used to anchor a prosthe- inum, osmium, iridium, palladium, ruthenium, and
sis to natural teeth (by cementation) or dental implant rhodium), and silver
abutments (by cementation, mechanical undercuts, proportional limit \pra-pôr¢sha-nal lı̆m¢ı̆t\: that unit of
screws) or both stresses beyond which deformation is no longer propor-
Knoop hardness tests [Frederick Knoop, U.S. engineer, tional to the applied load
U.S. Department of Commerce]: eponym for a surface
shearing stress \shîr¢ı̆ng strĕs\: the internal induced force
hardness test using a diamond stylus. It is used for harder
that opposes the sliding of one plane on an adjacent
materials and is characterized by the diamond or
plane or the force that resists a twisting action
rhomboid shaped indentation. The indentation micro-
hardness test uses a rhombic-based pyramidal diamond static fatigue \stăt¢ı̆k fa-tēg\: the delayed failure of glass
indenter. The long diagonal of the resulting indentation and ceramic materials resulting from stress enhanced

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