Glidewell Laboratories ceases production of traditional PFMs

Glidewell Laboratories has announced they are replacing traditional PFMs with Obsidian Pressed to Metal restorations. Obsidian is a lithium silicate ceramic.

In a move that may suggest a signficant shift in the dental laboratory market, Glidewell Laboratories has announced that production of conventional feldspathic PFMs will cease companywide effective October 1, 2016. All future PFM cases prescribed from the lab will use Obsidian® lithium silicate ceramic in place of feldspathic porcelain.

When compared to conventional PFMs, Obsidian Pressed to Metal crowns and bridges reportedly represent a higher standard of care in ceramo-metal restorations. Obsidian lithium silicate ceramic exhibits over four times the flexural strength and two times the chip resistance of traditional porcelains. The material is engineered to polish beautifully and is kinder to opposing dentition than previous PFM ceramics. The increased toughness of Obsidian reportedly makes it ideal for bridges, cases with insufficient vertical space for full-contour zirconia, and screw-retained restorations.  

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Obsidian’s greater translucency matches shades and is saiad to blend more naturally with real dentition. Obsidian Pressed to Metal restorations are designed to enable a new level of marginal precision, with tolerances as tight as 20 microns. Each metal understructure is digitally designed and then fabricated with a computer-controlled selective laser sintering machine, which uses a laser to bind metal powder into a 3-D shape. This precision established with these techniques helps prevent bacterial invasion and cement washout in delivered restorations.

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Jim Glidewell, CDT, says, “Obsidian Pressed to Metal crowns are without question the next step in the evolution of PFMs.” Obsidian Pressed to Metal restorations are priced at the current PFM rate of $109 per unit for non-precious alloy and at a reduced rate of just $116 per unit for white noble alloy.

For more information about Obsidian lithium silicate ceramic, visit