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J Dent Res. 2002 Sep;81(9):623-7.

Influence of connector design on fracture probability of ceramic fixed-partial dentures.

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Department of Prosthodontics, College of Dentistry, Health Science Tower, PO Box 100435, University of Florida, Gainesville 32610-0435, USA.


Fracture of ceramic fixed-partial dentures (FPDs) tends to occur in the connector area because of stress concentrations. The objective of this study was to test the hypothesis that the radius of curvature at the gingival embrasure of the FPD connector significantly affects the fracture resistance of three-unit FPDs. Two three-dimensional finite element models (FEMs), representing two FPD connector designs, were created in a manner corresponding to that described in a previous experimental study (Oh, 2002). We performed fractographic analysis and FEM analyses based on CARES (NASA) post-processing software to determine the crack initiation site as well as to predict the characteristic strength, the location of peak stress concentrations, and the risk-of-rupture intensities. A good correlation was found between the experimentally measured failure loads and those predicted by FEM simulation analyses. Fractography revealed fracture initiation at the gingival embrasure, which confirms the numerically predicted fracture initiation site. For the designs tested, the radius of curvature at the gingival embrasure strongly affects the fracture resistance of FPDs.

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