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Inside Dental Technology
July 2015
Volume 6, Issue 7

When Other Materials Are Too Weak

Prettau Zirconia and Prettau Anterior

Enrico Steger and his team of researchers work incessantly on new innovations. Steger, the CEO of Zirkonzahn, has already invented various products and launched them on the markets—from the manual copy milling system, Zirkograph, to an extensive range of CAD/CAM machines and accessories. In line with the company name, Zirkonzahn has remained steadfast to the material zirconia, the connecting element.

Zirkonzahn’s first and probably most important zirconia development was Prettau® Zirconia, a highly translucent, exceptionally biocompatible, and non-porous material. Thanks to its high translucency, natural appearance, and special coloring technique, the use of veneer ceramics can be eliminated in all functional areas of the denture. For this, the product should be stained with infiltration colors before sintering. The glazing occurs afterward.

Using this method, esthetically pleasing full-contour zirconia restorations known as Prettau® Bridges can be fabricated. Due to the elimination of the need for veneer ceramics, it is possible to design an even larger structure and to obtain a bending strength that is more than 200% higher. With this, war is declared on abrasion and on another big problem area, ceramic chipping.

Prettau Zirconia is partially stabilized with yttrium and enriched with aluminum. This results in positive characteristics such as a high bending strength of up to 1570 MPa, according to a February 2007 study by the University of Munich, and a high temperature resistance (up to 2600° C). It also results in a constant shrinking value, which forms the basis for utmost precision. This makes Prettau Zirconia unparalleled, especially in the field of implant dentistry, for cases with limited available space or restorations requiring prosthetic gingival reconstruction.

New Innovation

Zirkonzahn has firmly established the reputations of Prettau Zirconia and the Prettau Bridge among experts, but now has introduced another innovation: Prettau® Anterior®. This new and extremely biocompatible zirconia material is specially suited for use in the anterior tooth area due to its high translucency. Thanks to its high bending strength, it offers an ideal alternative to lithium disilicate. In a test performed by the University of Pennsylvania, Prettau Anterior reached a bending strength of 670 MPa. In the biaxial tensile test conducted in accordance with the IOS 6872, lithium disilicate showed values of approximately 360 MPa (+/- 60 MPa).

Due to the optimized microstructure of the zirconium oxide, Prettau Anterior is not only highly translucent but also particularly esthetic. With the Colour Liquid Prettau® Anterior Aquarell, specially developed for this purpose, as well as the ICE Zirkon Stains Prettau and the ICE Zirkon 3D Stains by Enrico Steger, dental technicians can now work fully anatomically in the anterior area. This also helps to avoid the problem of ceramic chipping. As with Prettau Zirconia, the layering technique does not require expertise, but the coloring technique does. The occlusal surface no longer needs to be tediously layered with ceramics, as it is being directly copied from the modeled tooth.

Contrary to the characteristics of glass-ceramics, Prettau Anterior is polychrome (multicolored). This means that a Prettau Anterior restoration can be colored in several shades prior to the sintering process. This allows specially customized solutions for every patient.

Unlike glass-ceramics, Prettau Anterior distinguishes itself not only through higher bending strength but also through its processing method, which is the same as for Prettau Zirconia. Neither water cooling nor diamond drilling is required. The material is milled dry with common zirconia burs. This results in shorter milling times and lower material usage and tool wear.


Technical progress constantly brings forth new components, allowing us to adapt to the individual needs of every patient increasingly better. With this in mind, both the introductions of Prettau Zirconia and Prettau Anterior represent important milestones on the path to perfection in materials research. “Perfection through perseverance” is also the motto of Zirkonzahn. Time and again Steger and his team take on the fight against routine and inattentiveness with the absolute will to get a little closer to the vision of perfection.

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