Purpose: The purpose this study was to investigate the effect of Kern’s air-borne particle abrasion protocol (KAPA) and polishing on two translucent zirconias (4Y, 5Y-zirconias) compared to a traditional zirconia (3Y-zirconia). Methods: Two different surface treatments were analysed by X-ray diffraction (XRD) and interferometry 1) KAPA (0.1 MPa, 50 µm alumina, 10-12 mm distance, 15 sec and 30 sec and cleaning in ultrasound using isopropyl alcohol 99%) and 2) Clinical-delivery polishing paste (Zircon Brite, Dental Ventures, USA). Shear-bond strength tests (SBS’s) were performed with a highly polished and virtually flat surface in combination with a 10-MDP based cement and a surface modified by KAPA in combination with zinc phosphate cement. The SBS was expressed in terms of MPa. Results: The mean values for monoclinic content were 13 wt%, 7 wt% and 2 wt% for 3Y-, 4Y- and 5Y-zirconias respectively, no differences were found between 15 and 30 seconds. Polishing did not result in phase transformation to monoclinic phase in any of the zirconias. The rhombohedral phase was identified in all types of zirconias regardless of surface treatment. Shear-bond strength tests showed 5 MPa for polished/10-MDP based cement and 3 MPa for KAPA/ Zinc phosphate. Statistically significant differences were found between the two different surface treatments but not between the types of zirconias. Conclusions: KAPA for 15 sec seems to be equal to 30 sec regarding morphology and phase transformation. Sole micro-retention appears not to be fully responsible for the bonding phenomena of 10-MDP and zirconia that underwent KAPA.
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