Fracture resistance of three-unit zirconia fixed partial denture with modified framework

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Obtaining ideal prosthetic framework design is at times hindered by anatomical limitations in the posterior region that might increase the risk for zirconia restoration fracture. Modification such as increasing the bulk thickness especially in the connector region could result in strengthening the zirconia framework.

Three-unit zirconia fixed partial dentures replacing mandibular molars were fabricated using the following two techniques: CAD/CAM technology and manual copy milling. Modified framework with unveneered full thickness connectors were designed and fabricated with the aforementioned methods. Conventional frameworks (0.5 mm thick with rounded 3 mm connectors) served as control (N = 20). After cementation on epoxy dies, the frameworks were loaded to fracture in a universal testing machine. Fractured surfaces were prepared for examination using scanning electron microscopy. Statistical analysis revealed significant differences in fracture resistance between conventional and modified framework design for both fabrication techniques tested. SEM examination indicated that critical crack originated at the tensile surface of the connectors for conventional frameworks. The critical crack for modified frameworks occurred on the axial wall of the abutments. The modification of the zirconia framework design presented significant improvement of the fracture resistance compared to the conventional design.


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