Tips and Tricks: Zirconia Oven Health

Tips and Tricks: Zirconia Oven Health

Welcome to another episode of America’s Smiles, tips, and tricks. Today, we’re going to be talking about zirconia oven health. Now it sounds like my tip may be a funny topic, like, What do you mean zirconia oven health?

Where There’s Smoke, There’s Fire

When you’re cooking, the zirconia in the oven is hitting 2,700-2,800 degrees Fahrenheit, or 1500 Centigrade. It’s a crazy science lab happening in there. Now I’m not a physicist or a chemist, So I don’t know exactly what’s happening, but I know there’s a lot of violent stuff happening at 3000 degrees Fahrenheit similar to how water turns into steam at just 212°C. Needless to say, you don’t want foreign material to find its way into that. You want your oven to be clean to result in a clean product.

One of the discoveries we have made is that you must clean your oven as soon as it comes in. The ovens that we buy have this insulation, and the way it holds the heating elements rubs together and creates a dusty environment. When our centering ovens come in, we break them down and blow out all the parts outside, and you wouldn’t believe the dust cloud that comes from the manufacturer. If you have all that dust in there and then subject that dust to this violent atmosphere at 3000 degrees, it’s going to contaminate your teeth. So, number one, when you got an oven, clean it out. Number two, I believe every day or at least once a week, we blow our ovens and our muffler out with an air hose nice and gentle apply only minimal pressure. You’ll see the dust come out of there and blow out the top where you’re collecting dust.

One of the most critical mistakes we’ve encountered was a lab that called us because we sold them an oven, and they were expressing how crappy our oven is and that the teeth that were coming out were ugly. We found out he put his oven right next to the mill. So, he’s milling teeth and casting all the dust out into the oven, thus contaminating all the teeth in the oven. Keep your oven in a healthy, clean environment away from your mills. If it resides in a dusty area when it’s not being used after it cools, put a cover on it. Keep in mind you don’t want to melt the cover to the oven.

Cleanliness is Next to Profitability

Here are a couple of other tips we have. Number one, make sure you clean your teeth well. Okay. Dust and debris on your teeth are the number one thing to contaminate the coloring process. You’ll have a hard time getting good color penetration if you’re using classic white. Number two is if dust gets into the oven now you’re incorporating dust into the heating elements. To prevent this from becoming a problem, you can get what’s called a “Splay Event”, which is where you get this buildup of stuff on your elements, and then they break off, and you wind up getting contaminated zirconia. Do this every so often. Number 3, we use what’s called a deionizer to clean our teeth. What we found while trying to clean our zirconia while using a brush is that it’s like rubbing a balloon in your hair when you’re a kid; you get static electricity. The zirconia is actually building up static electricity, which is making the dust stick to the teeth. We blast our teeth so it breaks down the static electricity and helps you get all that dust off the tooth. 

Don’t Risk It. Test It.

When you fire your zirconia you want to test it. It’s kind of like the canary in the coal mine theory. Use some tiny chunks of zirconia on the top of your dish. If fired correctly, that zirconia should come out pure white. That’s how you know you have an excellent, clean oven. Our ovens have two dishes, so we have a top dish and a bottom dish. I put one chunk of virgin zirconia, no color in the bottom dish, another chunk in the top dish, then three more pieces on top. We call the three on top, junk zirconia. That stuff should be pearly beautiful white. That’s how you know you have a good, clean oven.

So once your teeth are colored, whether you have pre-shaded or color it yourself, once your teeth are colored, technically speaking, the teeth are contaminated with rust. That’s how we get the color to our teeth. We put oxides in there, which makes the teeth have color. So essentially, we’ve contaminated them. So use virgin white zirconia with a little on top and a little on each dish.

Keep your zirconia clean. Keep your ovens clean. Keep the oven in a clean area. That’s one of the keys to getting better quality zirconia.

And that’s it!

 

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AmericaSmiles® was founded more than a decade ago after Keith Crittenden began sharing with dental industry colleagues his ideas for helping dentists improve their business as a means of growing his own dental lab business. Soon after, the AmericaSmiles® Network was launched and our mission has been supporting dental labs ever since.