Wear of ceramic-based dental materials

Oscar Borrero-Lopez, Fernando Guiberteau, Yu Zhang, Brian R. Lawn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


An investigation is made of wear mechanisms in a suite of dental materials with a ceramic component and tooth enamel using a laboratory test that simulates clinically observable wear facets. A ball-on-3-specimen wear tester in a tetrahedral configuration with a rotating hard antagonist zirconia sphere is used to produce circular wear scars on polished surfaces of dental materials in artificial saliva. Images of the wear scars enable interpretation of wear mechanisms, and measurements of scar dimensions quantify wear rates. Rates are lowest for zirconia ceramics, highest for lithium disilicate, with feldspathic ceramic and ceramic–polymer composite intermediate. Examination of wear scars reveals surface debris, indicative of a mechanism of material removal at the microstructural level. Microplasticity and microcracking models account for mild and severe wear regions. Wear models are used to evaluate potential longevity for each dental material. It is demonstrated that controlled laboratory testing can identify and quantify wear susceptibility under conditions that reflect the essence of basic occlusal contact. In addition to causing severe material loss, wear damage can lead to premature tooth or prosthetic failure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)144-151
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of the Mechanical Behavior of Biomedical Materials
StatePublished - Apr 2019


  • Dental ceramics
  • Enamel
  • Fracture
  • Micromechanics
  • Microstructure
  • Prostheses
  • Wear

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomaterials
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Mechanics of Materials


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