Photo courtesy KaVo Kerr
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Pearls for Your Practice: Zir-Cut burs by Kavo Kerr

May 1, 2020
Joshua Austin, DDS, MAGD, reviews a zirconia-centric bur.

I oftentimes wonder about the unexpected consequences of the things we create. Smartphones are a great example. Yes, they are convenient and can improve our lives; however, they have created such problems in our society. I watch people walking in unison staring at their phone screens, not paying attention to the world around them. I don’t think we fully understood the coming smartphone addiction when the first iPhone was released.

Full-contour zirconia crowns are comparable. While they have been a wonderful development for restorative dentistry, cutting them off can be a real nightmare. What kind of future world have we made for ourselves?!

We must have tools to help us deal with getting zirconia and glass ceramic crowns off. This presents several problems. Firstly, cutting off crowns like this can be extremely time-consuming. My fiancée, Andrea, literally spent an hour cutting a bonded zirconia crown off of tooth no. 11. Goodbye, profitability!

The second issue with this is heat generation. The friction and torque required to get through these bonded ceramics can burn out a pulp pretty easily. The more quickly and efficiently we can cut off ceramic crowns, the less heat we generate, which lowers the chance of endodontic therapy being required.

Thirdly, we must consider the aggressiveness of the procedure for the patient. It can take force to get through these crowns. I don’t know about you, but I like being smooth and light-handed with my patients. That is hard to do when cutting off ceramic crowns. Thankfully, I found Zir-Cut!

Zir-Cut is a line of zirconia-centric burs and polishers from Kavo Kerr. Zir-Cut burs are a great choice for removing and also adjusting ceramic crowns. The key is the Z-Grit, diamond particles that are bonded smoothly and deeply into the shank of the bur. Fine diamond is the best way to get through zirconia. If the fine diamond isn’t well bonded to the shank, it flies off the bur quickly, leaving us with a noncutting bur. The better the bond of the fine diamond to the shank of the bur, the better and faster it will cut ceramics. This will also lead to a cooler cut, as you won’t have bald shank running against ceramic and causing a rise in temperature.

Zir-Cut comes in a multitude of different bur shapes. Obviously, some shapes are better for adjusting ceramics and others are better for cutting ceramic. I use the Z856.018 for removing crowns and the Z368.023 for adjusting. Both of these burs have worked fantastically for me. If you are looking for burs to help you cope with the zirconia world we have created, give Zir-Cut a try. Line drive double to centerfield for Zir-Cut!

More: Why are some zirconia crowns failing?

Joshua Austin, DDS, MAGD, writes the Pearls for Your Practice column in Dental Economics. After graduating from the University of Texas Health Science Center Dental School, Dr. Austin associated for several years. In October of 2009, he opened a solo general practice in a suburban area of San Antonio, Texas. Dr. Austin is involved in all levels of organized dentistry and can be reached at [email protected].

About the Author

Joshua Austin, DDS, MAGD

Joshua Austin, DDS, MAGD, is a graduate and former faculty member of the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio School of Dentistry. Author of Dental Economics’ Pearls for Your Practice column, Dr. Austin lectures nationally on products, dental technology, online reputation management, and social media. He maintains a full-time restorative dentistry private practice in San Antonio, Texas. You may contact Dr. Austin at [email protected].

Updated June 21, 2023

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