STATEMENT OF PROBLEM:
Most all-ceramic fixed dental prostheses (FDPs) fail at the connectors.
The purpose of this study was to determine the effect of 2 connector designs on the fracture resistance of core materials used for all-ceramic FDPs.
MATERIAL AND METHODS:
Three materials were tested: (1) heat-pressed lithium disilicate glass ceramic (IPS e.max Press (Press)), (2) milled lithium disilicate glass ceramic (IPS e.max CAD (CAD)), and (3) milled yttrium-stabilized tetragonal zirconia polycrystals (Y-TZP) (IPS e.max ZirCAD (ZirCAD)). Specimens were made into 30 x 4 x 4-mm bars to represent 3-unit FDPs. Two connector designs, round (0.60 +/-0.01-mm radius of curvature) and sharp (0.06 +/-0.001-mm radius of curvature), with a 3.00 +/-0.05-mm cross-section for each connector, were studied (n=5). Each specimen was loaded to fracture in a universal testing machine with a crosshead speed of 0.1 mm/min. Data were analyzed with a 2-way univariate ANOVA and Tukey HSD test (alpha=.05).
Mean (SD) failure loads for round connector designs were 684.2 (70.1) N for ZirCAD, 260 (7.8) N for CAD, and 172.9 (35.5) N for Press. Mean (SD) failure loads for sharp connector designs were 386.3 (51.5) N for ZirCAD, 87.9 (7.0) N for CAD, and 125.1 (15.1) N for Press. The 2-way univariate ANOVA indicated statistically significant differences (P<.005) for material and connector design, and, also, a significant interaction between material and connector design. Higher maximum failure loads were found for the round connector design when compared to the sharp connector design, for ZirCAD and CAD. However, this difference was not statistically significant for the Press groups. SEM subjective assessment of the fractured specimens revealed that the fracture initiated from the gingival surface (tensile) of the connector toward the pontic (central loading point).
Fracture resistance of ceramic core materials is affected by fabrication technique and connector design. Connector design affected fracture resistance of the milled ceramic, but not the pressed ceramic.