Laser surface texturing is widely explored for modifying the surface topography of various materials and thereby tuning their optical, tribological, biological, and other surface properties. In dentistry, improved osseointegration has been observed with laser textured titanium dental implants in clinical trials. Due to several limitations of titanium materials, dental implants made of zirconia-based ceramics are now considered as one of the best alternatives. Laser surface texturing of zirconia dental implants is therefore attracting increasing attention. However, due to the brittle nature of zirconia, as well as the metastable tetragonal ZrO2 phase, laser texturing in the case of zirconia is more challenging than in the case of titanium. Understanding these challenges requires different fields of expertise, including laser engineering, materials science, and dentistry. Even though much progress was made within each field of expertise, a comprehensive analysis of all the related factors is still missing. This review paper provides thus an overview of the common challenges and current status on the use of lasers for surface texturing of zirconia-based ceramics for dental applications, including texturing of zirconia implants for improving osseointegration, texturing of zirconia abutments for reducing peri-implant inflammation, and texturing of zirconia restorations for improving restoration retention by bonding.
Keywords: Dental implants; Laser surface texturing; Zirconia restorations; Zirconia-based ceramics.
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