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Biomaterials. 2007 Jun;28(17):2695-705. Epub 2007 Jan 26.

In vitro lifetime of dental ceramics under cyclic loading in water.

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Department of Materials, ETH-Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland.


All-ceramic dental restorations exhibit enhanced esthetics and biocompatibility as compared to traditional metal-based prosthesis. However, long-term fatigue and subcritical crack growth in the presence of water and cyclic loading can decrease the strength of ceramic components over time. We investigated the cyclic fatigue in water of three dental materials currently used as frameworks in all-ceramic restorations: a 3 mol%-yttria partially stabilized zirconia (3Y-TZP, Cercon, Degudent GmbH), a Al(2)O(3)-ZrO(2)-Glass composite (Inceram-Zirconia, Vita Zahnfabrik GmbH) and a Li(2)O.2SiO(2) glass ceramic (Empress 2, Ivoclar Vivadent AG). Fatigue and fast fracture tests were performed to determine the Weibull distribution of lifetime and initial mechanical strength for each framework component. In spite of its noticeable susceptibility to fatigue in water, the 3Y-TZP material was found to be particularly suitable for the preparation of posterior all-ceramic bridges due to its high initial mechanical strength. Guidelines are provided for the selection of materials and the design of all-ceramic posterior bridges exhibiting lifetime longer than 20 years under severe wet and cyclic loading conditions.

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