Tips For Coloring Full Contour Zirconia


Achieving spot-on shades with full-contour zirconia isn’t always easy. There are so many variables that can affect the outcome of getting the right shade. Here are some variables to consider:


Sintering Temperature

Sintering temperatures can have an effect on the outcome of the shade as well as the translucency of full-contour zirconia restorations. At higher temperatures, you begin to lose chroma and gain translucency. In order to help you get the perfect translucency, we created our own sintering curve for our own zirconia disc types base on lots of testing.


Sintering Beads

Sintering beads can also play a role in the final result of your desired shade of a full-contour zirconia. We recently sintered two 3 unit bridges milled out of the same Vsmile ST preshaded zirconia A2 disc, on the same firing cycle - one with Alumina beads and the other with Zirconia beads. You can see there is clearly a difference in this picture I took with my cell phone in natural lighting. The one the left was sintered with zirconia beads providing a more translucent restoration where the one on the right was sintered with Alumina beads, providing a more opaque res


Preshaded or white zirconia – which will allow us to achieve the best results?

When using a white zirconia for full-contour restorations, you will need to pair it up with Vsmile special color liquid. This will allow the color to saturate the zirconia to avoid the color getting wiped away from any necessary adjustments. There are traditionally three techniques being used when using color liquid.

1. Using the dipping technique you dip the milled unit in the appropriate shaded liquid anywhere from 30 – 120 seconds depending on the recommendation. This technique is the quickest and gives you a monochromatic restoration.

2. The brush-on technique will give you more esthetic results by having control of the placement. More time is involved but you are able to customize the final result providing a more lifelike restoration.

3. The hybrid technique uses a combination of the dipping and brush-on technique giving the restoration both a body and enamel shade. And we strongly recommend.

When using pre-shaded zirconia for full-contour restorations, you gain the advantage of skipping the green state coloring techniques saving on labor. You are also able to see more consistent results. The disadvantage is that you will need to add multiple shades and disc sizes of zirconia to your inventory plus factor in the time for disc changes if you aren’t running multiple mills.

Evaluate your workflow and determine which option is best for your lab. There are a plethora of resources on the net with many different techniques when it comes to coloring full contour zirconia. Explore them and find one that works for you.


Follow Vsmile, find a coloring system that works well with your zirconia of choice, and unleash your inner artist… let your passion shine through as you recreate beautiful smile after smile!