Journal of Prosthetic Dentistry

Material preferences for tooth-supported 3-unit fixed dental prostheses: A survey of German dentists


      Statement of problem

      Different material options are available for fixed dental prostheses (FDPs), but valid data on the favored materials of German dentists for 3-unit FDPs are lacking. It is unclear whether preferences depend on the individual characteristics of the dentists or their dental practices.


      The purpose of this survey was to identify the preferred material selection of German dentists for the fabrication of tooth-supported 3-unit FDPs depending on the location of the abutment teeth and the individual characteristics of the dentist or the dental practice.

      Material and methods

      A survey was developed that included questions on the demographic characteristics (sex, area of expertise, age group, time since graduation, number of inhabitants, and the postal code of the dental practice or dental school) of the participating dentist and their preferred materials for the fabrication of tooth-supported 3-unit FDPs. Three clinical scenarios (anterior maxillary FDP, posterior maxillary FDP, posterior mandibular FDP) were presented. The dentists were allowed to select from predefined options or to give a free answer. For comparisons of characteristic associations, the number of inhabitants was chosen to represent the characteristics of the dental practice, and sex and time since graduation were selected to represent the characteristics of the dentist. Group comparisons were conducted with Chi-square tests (α=.05).


      A response of 721 dentists from all parts of Germany was received, and data from 688 dentists were included in the analyses. Ceramic was the most preferred material for the fabrication of 3-unit FDPs independent of the location of the abutment teeth with veneered zirconia as the favored option. Metal-ceramic was ranked second. The time since graduation ≤15 years was associated with a preference of ceramic over metal-ceramic for the anterior restoration (P<.001).


      Most participating dentists selected appropriate restorative materials depending on the individual clinical setting presented in the survey. For the anterior 3-unit FDP, time since graduation was associated with the preference for a restorative material. Some dentists selected lithium-X-silicate ceramics for situations beyond their recommended indication range.
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