Influence of Substructure Design and Occlusal Reduction on the Stress Distribution in Metal Ceramic Complete Crowns: 3D Finite Element Analysis

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Abstract

Purpose:

Occlusal reduction is considered a fundamental step for providing adequate and uniform space for the ceramic prosthesis; however, a flat occlusal surface is usually found. The prosthesis design influences the resistance to deformation and the stress state within the ceramic. This finite element (FE) study analyzes the influence of changing the substructure design on the stress distribution of a metal-ceramic crown in a premolar tooth with three types of occlusal reduction.

Materials and Methods:

Each part of three-dimensional metal ceramic complete crown models was designed according to the space provided by different levels of occlusal reduction and the same external morphology of the tooth. Three models were designed: (1) correct occlusal reduction with a uniform thickness of the substructure (0.3 mm) and the veneering porcelain (1.5 mm); (2) flat occlusal reduction with different thicknesses of veneering porcelain to produce a uniform substructure; and (3) a flat occlusal reduction with different thicknesses of substructure for a uniform thickness of veneering porcelain.

Results:

Stress distributions were very similar in the three models. The highest tensile stresses were concentrated immediately below the midline fissure in both the veneering porcelain and the metal alloy substructure. Although models with flat occlusal reduction had lower stress values, this preparation results from a reduction that removes a greater amount of sound tissue, which may increase the probability of dental pulp injury.

Conclusions:

Occlusal reduction must be anatomic; however, when a flat occlusal reduction already exists, the substructure must reproduce the correct anatomic form to allow a uniform thickness of the veneering porcelain.

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