Zirconia abutments in the anterior region: A systematic review of mechanical and esthetic outcomes

J Prosthet Dent. 2019 May;121(5):775-781.e1. doi: 10.1016/j.prosdent.2018.08.005. Epub 2019 Jan 5.


Statement of problem: The success of single, anterior, implant-supported restorations relies on mechanical and esthetic outcomes. Titanium has been the most commonly used material for abutments, but zirconia is increasingly chosen for its appearance despite its unclear mechanical performance. Today, manufacturers market prefabricated, computer-aided design and computer-aided manufacturing (CAD-CAM) custom and zirconia abutments with titanium connections.

Purpose: The purpose of this study was to systematically review the mechanical and esthetic outcomes of implant zirconia abutments used in the anterior region, considering the design changes of the past 5 years.

Material and methods: An electronic search was conducted in Medline (PubMed) for studies on zirconia abutments. All clinical studies with at least a 1-year follow-up and case series (>5 abutments) published after 2013 were included. Mechanical and esthetic outcomes were collected.

Results: Of the 231 retrieved studies, 20 remained for quantitative analysis. Twelve described mechanical outcomes, and 15 focused on esthetics, using mainly the pink esthetic score. Five articles reported abutment fractures and no chipping. No difference was found between prefabricated and custom abutments or internal and external implant connections regarding fractures or screw loosening. All authors reported "good to excellent" esthetic integration in terms of restorations and soft-tissue color and the presence and height of papillae. The most difficult esthetic parameters to achieve were root convexity, soft-tissue color, and texture and level of mucosa.

Conclusions: Esthetics remain the major advantage of zirconia abutment when compared with titanium, despite reservations concerning the risk of mechanical complications. Data are lacking for zirconia abutments with titanium inserts, although the prospects for this design are promising.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Computer-Aided Design
  • Dental Abutments
  • Dental Implant-Abutment Design*
  • Esthetics
  • Esthetics, Dental*
  • Titanium
  • Zirconium


  • Zirconium
  • Titanium
  • zirconium oxide