Objective: To evaluate the effect of artificial aging on the fracture strength and stiffness of fiber-reinforced composite fixed partial dentures (FPDs).
Method and Materials: Twelve FPDs were replicated using Targis/Vectris resin composite (Ivoclar Vivadent) and randomly divided in 2 groups. Group A was artificially aged for 900 hours in a weathering machine using dry/wet cycles and 534 W/m2 irradiations with wavelengths ranging from 300 to 800 nm. Group B (control) was stored in 100% relative humidity at 37°C ± 1°C for 900 hours. The FPDs were luted on metal abutments with Variolink II resin cement (Ivoclar Vivadent). The flexure stress was applied on the pontic at a descending speed of 1.0 mm/min until complete failure. Fracture strength, stiffness, and number of cracks produced on the FPDs were statistically analyzed.
Results: Targis veneering material in the control group fractured at a mean of 913 ± 130 N, whereas in the aged group it failed at a mean of 722 ± 154 N (P = .042). The mean fracture load of aged FPD frameworks was slightly lower than that of the controls: 1,532 ± 237 N and 1,578 ± 257 N, respectively (P = .758). The stiffness at 400 N was not significantly different between the 2 groups. The number of cracks at Targis failure was higher in aged groups.
Conclusion: Accelerated aging significantly reduced the strength of the Targis veneering composite, increasing its brittleness; however, it had no effect on the inner Vectris framework. (Quintessence Int 2007;38:153–159)
Key words: accelerated aging, fiber-reinforced composites, fixed partial dentures, flexural strength, metal-free restorations, polymer degradation