The first objective of this study was to retrospectively evaluate zirconia-based restorations (ZBR). The second was to correlate failures with clinical parameters and to identify and to analyse chipping failures using fractographic analysis.
147 ZBR (tooth- and implant-supported crowns and fixed partial dentures (FPDs)) were evaluated after a mean observation period of 41.5 ± 31.8 months. Accessorily, zirconia implant abutments (n = 46) were also observed. The technical (USPHS criteria) and the biological outcomes of the ZBR were evaluated. Occlusal risk factors were examined: occlusal relationships, parafunctional habits, and the presence of occlusal nightguard. SEM fractographic analysis was performed using the intra-oral replica technique.
The survival rate of crowns and FPDs was 93.2%, the success rate was 81.63% and the 9-year Kaplan-Meier estimated success rate was 52.66%. The chipping rate was 15% and the framework fracture rate was 2.7%. Most fractographic analyses revealed that veneer fractures originated from occlusal surface roughness. Several parameters were shown to significantly influence veneer fracture: the absence of occlusal nightguard (p = 0.0048), the presence of a ceramic restoration as an antagonist (p = 0.013), the presence of parafunctional activity (p = 0.018), and the presence of implants as support (p = 0.026). The implant abutments success rate was 100%.
The results of the present study confirm that chipping is the first cause of ZBR failure. They also underline the importance of clinical parameters in regards to the explanation of this complex problem. This issue should be considered in future prospective clinical studies.
Clinical significance: Practitioners can reduce chipping failures by taking into account several risk parameters, such as the presence of a ceramic restoration as an antagonist, the presence of parafunctionnal activity and the presence of implants as support. The use of an occlusal nightguard can also decrease failure rate.