Journal of Prosthetic Dentistry
Research Article| Volume 96, ISSUE 4, P237-244, October 2006

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The efficacy of posterior three-unit zirconium-oxide–based ceramic fixed partial dental prostheses: A prospective clinical pilot study

      Statement of problem

      Although zirconium-oxide–based restorations for fixed partial denture prostheses (FPDPs) are available for use, clinical studies evaluating their longevity and related complications have not been published.


      The aim of this pilot clinical study was to assess the efficacy of zirconia-based posterior 3-unit FPDPs.

      Material and methods

      Twenty 3-unit posterior FPDPs (Lava) were placed in 16 subjects who were missing a second premolar or a first molar, met specific inclusion and exclusion criteria, and provided informed consent. All teeth were prepared in a standardized manner: occlusal reduction of 1.5 to 2 mm; axial reduction of 1 to 1.5 mm; a 1.0-mm, 360-degree rounded shoulder placed 0.5 mm subgingivally on the facial aspect and supragingivally on the lingual aspect on sound tooth structure; and rounded internal line angles. Impressions were made with vinyl polysiloxane (Express) impression material. Frameworks were fabricated using a computer-aided design/computer-assisted manufacturing technique with a retainer thickness of 0.6 mm, and a minimal connector surface area of 9 mm2. Restorations were luted with resin-modified glass-ionomer cement (Rely X luting). Recall appointments were made after 2 weeks and 6, 12, 18, 24, and 36 months. Clinical fracture resistance, marginal discoloration, marginal adaptation, radiographic proximal recurrent decay, and periapical pathoses were assessed over time using modified Ryge criteria. The probability distributions of these variables were calculated for the baseline data as well as for recall data.


      Mean follow-up was 31.2 months. Fifteen restorations were rated Alpha in all measured parameters. Minor chipping of veneering porcelain was detected in 5 restorations rated Bravo for clinical fracture resistance and Alpha for all other assessed parameters. One restoration was rated Bravo in terms of marginal integrity at 36 months.


      Zirconia-based posterior 3-unit FPDPs performed well after short-term service.
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