Research and Education| Volume 124, ISSUE 1, P75-80, July 2020

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Influence of ceramic firing on marginal gap accuracy and metal-ceramic bond strength of 3D-printed Co-Cr frameworks

Published:November 12, 2019DOI:


      Statement of problem

      The marginal gap and ceramic bond strength of metal-ceramic restorations are important for success. However, studies evaluating the marginal gap and ceramic bond strength of fixed partial dentures (FPDs) produced with 3D printing technologies such as selective laser melting (SLM) are scarce.


      The purpose of this in vitro study was to investigate the marginal gap of cobalt-chromium (Co-Cr) alloy frameworks produced by SLM technology before and after ceramic firing. Additionally, the metal-ceramic bond strength was evaluated with the Schwickerath crack-initiation test according to the International Standards Organization (ISO) 9693-1:2012.

      Material and methods

      Conventional impressions were made, and the definitive cast of a patient requiring a 4-unit FPD was scanned. After designing the FPD, the files were sent to a service center for the fabrication of a metal master model, 80 Co-Cr frameworks, and 80 flat specimens (25×3×0.5 mm) with SLM technology. The marginal gap between frameworks and the abutment tooth of the metal master model was nondestructively measured by using an optical coordinate-measuring machine. A total of 80 sets, consisting of 1 framework and 1 flat specimen, were sent to 80 dental laboratory technicians for ceramic firing. Detailed instructions for correct manipulation of the framework and flat specimen were provided. The marginal gap was remeasured, and the 3-point bend test was used to evaluate metal-ceramic bond strength.


      Only 28 of the 80 dental technicians returned the specimens within a prespecified time and/or in adequate condition. The mean ±standard deviation marginal gap of the framework before ceramic firing was 25 ±9 μm and 34 ±12 μm after firing. The difference was statistically significant (P=.001). The mean ±standard deviation 3-point bend strength was 33 ±9 MPa.


      Ceramic firing affected the marginal gap; however, all Co-Cr frameworks had a marginal gap lower than 120 μm, which is reported to be a clinically acceptable limit. Most of the specimens (80%) had a metal-ceramic bond strength value higher than the 25-MPa ISO 9693 requirement. Five of 28 dental laboratory technicians were not able to comply with ceramic firing instructions.
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