In Vitro Fracture Toughness of Commercial Y-TZP Ceramics: A Systematic Review

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The aim of this review was to assess research methods used to determine the fracture toughness of Y-TZP ceramics in order to systematically evaluate the accuracy of each method with regard to potential influencing factors.

Materials and Methods:

Six databases were searched for studies up to April 2013. The terms “tough*,” “critical stress intensity factor,” “zirconi*,” “yttri*,” “dent*,” “zirconia,” “zirconium,” and “stress” were searched. Titles and abstracts were screened, and literature that fulfilled the inclusion criteria was selected for a full-text reading. Test conditions with potential influence on fracture toughness were extracted from each study.


Ten laboratory studies met the inclusion criteria. There was a significant variation in relation to test method, ambient conditions, applied/indentation load, number of specimens, and geometry and dimension of the specimen. The results were incomparable due to high variability and missing information. Therefore, 10 parameters were listed to be followed to standardize future studies.


A wide variation in research methods affected the fracture toughness reported for Y-TZP ceramics among the selected studies; single-edge-precracked beam and chevron-notched-beam seem to be the most recommended methods to determine Y-TZP fracture toughness; the indentation methods have several limitations. Clinical significance: The accurate calculation of toughness values is fundamental because overestimating toughness data in a clinical situation can negatively affect the lifetime of the restoration.

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