Lava™ by 3M is a dental material that can be used for many applications – full crowns, bridges, onlays, inlays, veneers, cores, abutments. It is made from Zirconia – one of the strongest materials on earth – and can resist the oral environment and strong occlusal forces for a long time without causing undue trauma to natural dentition.

Additionally, the base material already comes in a “tooth colored” shade (8 base shades available) and subsequently can be color-modified to achieve the precise shade requested by the prescribing dentist. The result is a very natural looking restoration that blends harmoniously with surrounding dentition.

Due to the combination of these features (strength, beauty, adaptability) Zirconia has become a very popular choice for dentists and labs in recent years. The most popular – and perhaps the best on the market – is the “Lava™” brand from 3M. In fact, they claim it is the #1 requested brand by dentists.

While that may or may not be true, what we can say is there are several reasons why we here at Okon are pleased with our Lava products. The short of it is this: the material offers a precise fit, proven strength and outstanding aesthetics.

So, when fabricated on our state-of-the-art CAD/CAM machines and refined and color optimized by one of our experienced technicians, the result is a precision restoration that will function and look beautiful for years to come. We are so confident in the longevity of our Lava products that we offer a 15 year warranty against material/manufacturing defects.

Here are a few other reasons to choose one of our Lava products:

  • 10 years clinical experience
  • 100 clinical studies
  • 15-year warranty
  • Superior strength (1440 MPa, 3-point bend strength)
  • Patented substructure system available in 8 shades
  • Excellent marginal fit
  • Conventional cementation

There are a few different lines of Lava products available from 3M; the ‘ultimate’, ‘plus’ and ‘essentials’ lines, all with their own unique modifications that we can take advantage of as your dental lab to find the exact right solution for each individual case.

Lava Ultimate

Lava Ultimate integrates added flexural strength (200 MPa to be exact) by adding resin which, when combined with nano-ceramics (Zirconia and Silicate nano-particles), makes the resulting restoration even more resilient, increasing its overall functional performance.

Basically, what this means in simple terms is that the restoration is less brittle, and therefore less likely to crack, chip or fracture over time. And all of this without compromising its natural tooth-like coloring and translucency.

The only limitation with the ‘Ultimate’ line is that, at the moment, they can only be used in restorations that have some internal retention such as inlays or onlays. It is not currently recommend for full crowns due to difficulty achieving adequate long-term retention. This is not true of the other Lava products.

Lava Plus

This product line is full Zirconia and is optimized for aesthetics. It offers maximum color customization and HIGH translucency. Both the base material and the dyes are chemically designed to exhibit accurate and true colors while maintaining translucency and strength.

A unique powder and shading liquid is used to achieve this, which is engineered specifically for use with this material.  The specialized chemistry of the powder and liquid dyes allow it to be absorbed by the material and therefore fully integrates the color homogeneously throughout the restoration.

Basically, this means that the customized color is not just “painted” on the surface but part of the restoration itself, so it can never fade or chip and will always maintain its natural translucency. With this system you will get the most beautiful restoration possible without sacrificing strength or longevity.

Lava Essentials

This line from 3M is intended to provide an economic solution for patients who desire a precision fit, long-lasting  restoration, but aren’t as concerned with optimal aesthetics.

Basically, this option is ideal for posterior crowns, bridges, inlays or onlays where custom colorization is not critical, or where a patients’ tooth color happens to match perfectly with one of the 8 base shades available in the essentials collection.


No matter which product line you prefer, you can count on the expert Lava technicians here at Okon to fabricate a craftsman quality finished product. You see, even though our CAD/CAM technology is state-of-the-art, we don’t just churn out Lava milled crowns one after the other. We treat every case as unique and special. We don’t let a single case out of the office until it has been fine tuned, color-optimized and quality control inspected by our expert technicians.