Background: The use of zirconia-based ceramics to produce monolithic restorations has
increased due to improvements in the optical properties of the materials. Traditionally, zirconiabased
ceramics were veneered with porcelain or glass-ceramic and were not directly exposed to the
oral environment. Therefore, there are several doubts regarding the wear of the monolithic zirconia
restoration and their antagonists. Additionally, different surface treatments are recommended to
promote a smooth surface, including glaze and several polishing protocols. To support the correct
clinical application, it is important to understand the advantages and limitations of each surface
Objective: The aim of this short literature review is to investigate the factors that may affect the
wear of monolithic zirconia restorations in service and their antagonists.
Methods: Pubmed/Medline database was accessed to review the literature from a 10-year period using
the keywords: zirconia, monolithic, prosthesis, wear. Both clinical and in vitro studies were included
in the review.
Results: Studies investigated the effect of several surface treatments, including grinding with diamond-
burs, polishing and glazing, on the surface roughness, phase transformation and wear capacity
of monolithic zirconia. The wear behavior of monolithic zirconia was frequently compared to the
wear behavior of other ceramics, such as feldspathic porcelain, lithium disilicate-based glassceramic
and leucite-reinforced glass-ceramic. Human tooth, ceramics and resin composites were
used as antagonist in the investigations. Only short-term clinical studies are available (up to 2 years).
Conclusion: Literature findings suggest that zirconia monolithic restorations are wear resistant and
unlikely to cause excessive wear to the antagonist, especially when compared to feldspathic porcelain
and glass-ceramics. Monolithic zirconia should be polished rather than glazed. Yet, none of the
polishing systems studied was able to completely restore the initial surface conditions of zirconia after
being adjusted with burs. More clinical evidence of the antagonist tooth wear potential of monolithic
zirconia is needed.