Fractographic features of glass-ceramic and zirconia-based dental restorations fractured during clinical function

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Fractures during clinical function have been reported as the major concern associated with all-ceramic dental restorations. The aim of this study was to analyze the fracture features of glass-ceramic and zirconia-based restorations fractured during clinical use. Twenty-seven crowns and onlays were supplied by dentists and dental technicians with information about type of cement and time in function, if available. Fourteen lithium disilicate glass-ceramic restorations and 13 zirconia-based restorations were retrieved and analyzed. Fractographic features were examined using optical microscopy to determine crack initiation and crack propagation of the restorations. The material comprised fractured restorations from one canine, 10 incisors, four premolars, and 11 molars. One crown was not categorized because of difficulty in orientation of the fragments. The results revealed that all core and veneer fractures initiated in the cervical margin and usually from the approximal area close to the most coronally placed curvature of the margin. Three cases of occlusal chipping were found. The margin of dental all-ceramic single-tooth restorations was the area of fracture origin. The fracture features were similar for zirconia, glass-ceramic, and alumina single-tooth restorations. Design features seem to be of great importance for fracture initiation.

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