Three Essential Tips for Bonding to Zirconia

Richard Gawel



As zirconia restorations continue to grow in popularity, so do the questions about zirconia bonding. This substrate may be more difficult to bond to, but we want you to know it is possible, as long as you have a little knowledge and the right materials. Although it may require more steps than bonding to other, more familiar substrates, it’s worth it to ensure your patients don’t return to your office with debonded crowns.

Here are three tips to help you make sure all your crowns stay bonded for a long time.

1: Clean and Sandblast

Phosphate contaminants from saliva can weaken bond strengths and cause debonding if they aren’t removed before cementation. We recommend one of the following procedures to make sure this doesn’t happen.

Option 1: Try-in the restoration. Clean with a gel such as ZirClean to decontaminate the restoration completely. Sandblast the crown, and rinse. Then apply a zirconia primer and seat the crown with cement.

Option 2: Sandblast the restoration (or have it sandblasted by the lab). Apply a zirconia primer, such as Z-PRIME Plus. Try-in, and then rinse the restoration with alcohol. Seat the crown with cement.

Silane and hydrofluoric acid are not effective on zirconia, so sandblasting is crucial for achieving mechanical retention.

2: Use a Primer That Contains MDP

MDP is what allows chemical bonding between the cement and zirconia restoration; it has affinity for metal ions, so it will work with zirconia (remember, zirconia is not a metal but it does have metal ions). Look to make sure that either the primer or the cement you’re using contains MDP; likewise, if you use a dedicated zirconia primer, such as Z-PRIME Plus, then the resin cement you use doesn’t have to contain the monomer. Some resin cements contain MDP already (TheraCem is an example), and therefore an additional primer won’t be necessary.

3: Consider the Retention

When deciding which cement and bonding procedure to use, you must consider the retention of the prep.

  • If the prep is non-retentive, then using a bonding procedure on the tooth is necessary. BISCO would recommend using All-Bond Universal on the tooth, and then using Z-PRIME Plus on the restoration and cementing with Duo-Link Universal.
  • If the prep is retentive, then a self-adhesive resin cement that contains MDP will be enough to bond the restoration to the tooth. BISCO would recommend cementing with TheraCem.

When bonding to zirconia, consider these helpful steps to ensure a long-lasting restoration!

We are here to help! Call BISCO at (800) 247-3368 or visit us at