This study aimed to investigate the effect of manual coloring of blank monolithic zirconia blocks of four materials on their shade reproducibility, flexural strength, and surface roughness as compared with preshaded blocks of the same material.

Methods and Materials

Eight disc-shaped specimens (diameter=12mm; height=2mm) and eight bar-shaped specimens (25×2×2 mm) were milled from the shaded and non-shaded blocks of the four zirconia systems: Ceramill, Kerox, White Peaks, and Dental Direkt. In total, 128 specimens were fabricated. The non-shaded specimens of each system were coloured according to A2 shade. The surface roughness (Ra) was measured using a contact profilometer. Color difference was calculated according to the CIEDE2000 formula. The bar-shaped specimens were loaded to fracture following three-point bend testing at 1 mm/minute crosshead speed. Data were analysed following one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA), and the Tukey post-hoc test (p=0.05).


Manual-coloring affected the surface roughness, color difference, and flexural strength of three materials in comparison to their preshaded blocks (p<0.05). White Peaks was not affected (p>0.05). Ra values ranged from 1.1-1.9; three materials were not affected (p>0.05). Kerox preshaded blocks were the smoothest (p<0.05) but became the roughest once colored (p<0.05). White Peaks and Dental Direkt materials had preshaded blocks matching the A2 guide-tab (p>0.05). DE was perceptible and unacceptable for the preshaded and manually shaded blocks of all materials tested (ΔE>1.8). While manual coloring reduced flexural strength of Ceramill and Dental Direkt (p<0.05), flexural strength was retained by Kerox and White Peaks (p>0.05).


White Peaks was not affected by the coloring technique. Coloring had negative effects on Ceramill flexural strength and color reproducibility.

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