Background: The esthetic outcome of a dental restoration largely depends on the translucency of the materials used, especially for monolithic restorations. Research has been published reporting a correlation between translucency and material thickness. However, no mathematical formula has been described yet. The aim of the present study was to determine the mathematical relationship between material thickness and translucency of three dental ceramic materials.
Keywords: silicate ceramics, oxide ceramics, translucency, translucency equation, CAD/CAM, digital workflow
Material and methods: Three representative all-ceramic materials were taken out of the group of silicate ceramics (IPS Empress CAD LT), lithium X-silicate ceramics (IPS e.max CAD LT), and oxide ceramics (Lava Plus HT). Sixty specimens with five different thicknesses (0.4, 0.7, 1.0, 1.3, and 1.6 mm; N = 60, n = 12) were produced out of each ceramic (N = 180). A spectrophotometer was used to measure the transmittance coefficient tc[%] for each wavelength within the visible light spectrum, and the total light transmittance (T%) was calculated for each specimen. Linear, exponential, and logarithmic regression curves were fitted to the results.
Results: The logarithmic regression curves exhibited the best correlation (R2; IPS Empress CAD LT, R2 = 0.996; IPS e.max CAD LT, R2 = 0.987; Lava Plus HT, R2 = 0.907) to the transmittance values.
Conclusion: Within the limitations of the present study, the transmittance behavior of silicate ceramics, lithium-X-silicate ceramics, and oxide ceramics can be described by a logarithmic equation. The findings of this study therefore suggest that the optical behavior might be calculable by a mathematical approach.