Purpose: To compare the fracture resistance between bilayered zirconia/ fluorapatite and monolithic lithium disilicate heat-pressed crowns and characterize the mode of fracture failure.
Materials and methods: Thirty crown samples were sequentially fitted on a mandibular right first molar metal replica of an ivory prepared molar tooth. The crown specimens were divided in three groups (A, B, and C; n = 10 for each group). Group A consisted of bilayered zirconia/fluorhapatite pressed-over crowns with standard design crown copings (0.7 mm uniform thickness), Group B of bilayered zirconia/fluorhapatite with anatomical design crown copings, and Group C of lithium disilicate monolithic crowns. The samples were then dynamically loaded under water for 100,000 cycles with a profile of 250 N maximum load at 1,000 N/s rate and 2.0 Hz frequency. Loading was performed with a steel ball (5 mm in diameter) coming into contact with the test crown, loading to maximum, holding for 0.2 s, unloading and lifting off 0.5 mm. The samples were then fractured under static loading, in order to determine the ultimate crown strength. Analysis of the recorded fracture load values was carried out with one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) followed by Tukey tests. Fractured specimens were examined by stereomicroscopy and scanning electron microscopy.
Results: The fracture loads measured were (N, means and standard deviations): Group A: 561.87 (72.63), Group B: 1,014.16 (70.18) and Group C: 1,360.63 (77.95). All mean differences were statistically significant (P < 0.001). Catastrophic fractures occurred in Group C, whereas mainly veneer fractures were observed in Groups A and B.
Conclusion: In the present study, the heat-pressed monolithic lithium-disilicate crowns showed more fracture resistance than zirconia/fluorapatite pressed-over crowns. Within the bilayered groups, the anatomical zirconia coping design presented increased ceramic fracture resistance.