Purpose: To explore the feasibility of yttria-stabilized zirconia (Y-TZP) in fixed lingual retention as an alternative to stainless steel.
Methods: Exploratory Y-TZP specimens were milled to establish design parameters. Next, specimens were milled according to ASTM standard C1161-13 and subjected to four-point flexural test to determine materials properties. Finite Element (FE) Analysis was employed to evaluate nine novel cross-sectional designs and compared to stainless steel wire. Each design was analyzed under the loading conditions to determine von Mises and bond stress. The most promising design was fabricated to assess accuracy and precision of current CAD/CAM milling technology.
Results: The superior design had a 1.0 x 0.5 mm semi-elliptical cross section and was shown to be fabricated reliably. Overall, the milling indicated a maximum percent standard deviation of 9.3 and maximum percent error of 13.5 with a cost of $30 per specimen.
Conclusions: Y-TZP can be reliably milled to dimensions comparable to currently available metallic retainer wires. Further research is necessary to determine the success of bonding protocol and clinical longevity of Y-TZP fixed retainers. Advanced technology is necessary to connect the intraoral scan to an aesthetic and patient-specific Y-TZP fixed retainer.