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Three-dimensional finite element analysis of


strain and stress distributions in
endodontically treated maxillary central
incisors restored with different post, core and
crown mater...
ARTICLE in DENTAL MATERIALS SEPTEMBER 2007
Impact Factor: 3.77 DOI: 10.1016/j.dental.2006.08.006 Source: PubMed

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d e n t a l m a t e r i a l s 2 3 ( 2 0 0 7 ) 983993

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journal homepage: www.intl.elsevierhealth.com/journals/dema

Three-dimensional nite element analysis of strain and


stress distributions in endodontically treated maxillary
central incisors restored with diferent post, core and
crown materials
Roberto Sorrentino b , Raffaella Aversa a , Valeria Ferro c , Tommaso Auriemma c ,
Fernando Zarone d , Marco Ferrari b , Antonio Apicella a,
a

DISPAMA, Material Laboratory, Second University of Naples, Borgo S. Lorenzo, Aversa (Caserta), Italy
Department of Restorative Dentistry and Dental Materials, University of Siena, Siena, Italy
c Dental School, Second University of Naples, Naples, Italy
d Dental School, University of Naples Federico II, Naples, Italy
b

a r t i c l e

i n f o

a b s t r a c t

Article history:

Objectives. The present comparative analysis aimed at evaluating which combination of

Received 12 April 2006

restorative materials resulted in the most homogeneous stress and strain distributions.

Accepted 25 August 2006

Methods. A three-dimensional nite element analysis was performed. All the nodes on the
external surface of the root were constrained in all directions. Eighteen experimental models
with different material properties and congurations were simulated. An arbitrary load of

Keywords:

10 N was applied at 60 angle with tooth longitudinal axis on the palatal surface of the crown.

Finite element analysis

Von Mises (equivalent stresses) energetic criterion was chosen.

Stress

Results. In all the models the values of both strain and stress recorded at the middle third of

Strain

the buccal aspect of the root surface were at their maxima. On the contrary, the minimum

Endodontically treated teeth

values were noticed at level of both the apical portion of the post and the root apex.

Post

The maximum stresses were evidenced at level of the cementoenamel junction (CEJ)

Core

on both the buccal and palatal aspects of root cement and dentin. Stress progressively

Crown

decreased from the outer to the inner part of the root and from the CEJ towards the incisal

Composite resin

margin of the crown as well.

Dental materials

Signicance. The results of the present study would allow clinicians to make an informed

Adhesion

choice from among available materials to restore endodontically treated teeth.


2006 Academy of Dental Materials. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

1.

Introduction

Restoration of endodontically treated teeth is a common problem in restorative dentistry, related to the fractures occurring
in such teeth [1,2]. Posts are used to maintain the core material particulary in posterior teeth, where masticatory loads

are essentially compressive [3]. However, when loaded transversely, as in the case of incisors, the exural behaviour of
posts should be carefully considered [4]. The magnitude and
the angle of incisal load greatly inuence the long-term success of restorative systems involving central incisors [5]. In the
complex systems of post restorations, the stress distribution

Corresponding author. Tel.: +39 08181449981; fax: +39 0812141001.


E-mail address: antonio.apicella@unina2.it (A. Apicella).
0109-5641/$ see front matter 2006 Academy of Dental Materials. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
doi:10.1016/j.dental.2006.08.006

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d e n t a l m a t e r i a l s 2 3 ( 2 0 0 7 ) 983993

within the structure is multiaxial, not uniform and depending


on the magnitude and direction of the applied external loads.
Type of external loading, geometry of structure and residual
stresses are some of the causes of multiaxiality stress distribution [6]. The placement of an endodontic post creates an
unnatural restored structure since it lls the root canal space
with a material that has a dened stiffness unlike the pulp.
Hence, it is not possible to recreate the original stress distribution of the tooth [7]. The use of glass ber posts results in
the best stress distribution, since the cement layer rigidity
is less relevant compared to steel and carbon post congurations [8]. To summarize, two parameters strongly inuences the mechanical behaviour of endodontically treated
teeth restored with posts: the characteristics of the interfaces
and the rigidity of the materials.
Some of the fractures affecting post restorations could be
related to concentration of forces [9]; fatigue loading must be
considered an additional cause of root fracture.
In order to assess all the eventual variables, the type of
materials used for core build-up and crown restoration have
to be carefully evaluated [10].
To date, there is still no agreement in the literature about
which material or technique can optimally restore endodontically treated teeth [11].
Proper understanding of the physical variables affecting
the mechanical behaviour of biomedical devices during function is paramount to validate the clinical effectiveness and
predict the long-term success of prostheses and restorative
systems [12,10].
The simultaneous interaction of the many variables affecting a restorative system can be studied by means of a simulation in a computerized model. The nite elemet analysis
(FEA) consists in dividing a geometric model into a nite number of elements, each with specic physical properties. The
variables of interest are approximated with some mathematical functions. Stress and strain distributions in response to
different loading conditions can be simulated with the aid
of computers provided with dedicated softwares. As a consequence, detailed evaluations of the mechanical behaviour
of biologic and/or restorative systems are achievable, even in
non-homogeneous bodies [10,1315]. If correctly validated, the
FEA could be useful in optimizing restorative design criteria
and material choice and in predicting fracture potential under
given circumstances [10,12].
Searching the literature, the majority of papers based on
FE modelling of strain and stress distribution in post and
crown restored teeth is based on two-dimensional (2D) models
[1618] and only few on three-dimensional (3D) ones [8,19,20].
Although reliable when considering axial symmetric systems,
two-dimensional meshing procedures do not allow to correctly assess the spatial distribution of stresses and strains
affecting a restorative system. In order to overcome such a
problem, three-dimensional FEA was introduced to obtain
more realistic models [8,10,12]. Nevertheless, this approach
could present coarse meshes that would not allow a proper
representation of both preparation details or materials used in
thin layers, just like luting agents. The use of 3D-FEA with solid
brick elements could be useful in achieving ordinate mapped
meshes of complex biologic structures or restorative systems
[10,12].

The present study compared the stress and strain distribution patterns of a sound maxillary central incisor with those of
endodontically treated teeth restored with different post, core
and crown direct and indirect materials within the restorative
materials and at the adhesive interfaces as well.
The aim of the present comparative analysis was to estimate which combination of restorative materials resulted in
the most homogeneous stress and strain distributions, so that
to obtain the most similar conguration to that of a sound
tooth.
Two different null hypotheses were tested:
- there is no association between the mechanical properties
of core and crown materials on stress and strain concentration areas along the dentin/cement/post interfaces;
- there is no association between the mechanical properties
of core and crown materials on stress and strain levels along
the dentin/cement/post interfaces.
As to clinical signicance, the results of the present study
would allow clinicians to make an informed choice from
among available materials to restore endodontically treated
teeth.

2.

Materials and methods

The solid model was generated using literature data [24]


for dentin and enamel internal volumes and morphologies,
while the external shape of the maxillary central incisor was
obtained by laser based 3D digitising (Cyberware) of a plaster cast (Thanaka Manufacturer, Japan). The scanned proles
were assembled in a three-dimensional wire frame structure
using a 3D CAD (Autocad 12, Autodesk Inc.) and exported into
a 3D parametric solid modeller (Pro-Engineering 16.0 Parametric Technologies, USA). The tooth volumes were generated by
tting of the horizontal and vertical proles. The geometries
and volumes for the cement layer and post were also generated at this stage.
The FEM model was obtained by importing the solid model
into ANSYS rel. 9.0 FEM software (Ansys Inc., Houston, USA)
using IGES format. The volumes were redened in the new
environment and meshed with eight nodes brick with three
degree of freedom per node, nally resulting in a 3D FE model
with 13,272 elements and 15,152 nodes (Fig. 1). All the nodes
on the external surface of the root were constrained in all
directions. Accuracy of the model was checked by convergence
tests. Particular attention was devoted to the renement of the
mesh resulting from the convergence tests at the cement layer
interfaces. Different material properties were coupled with the
elements and geometries according to the volume material
dened in Fig. 1 (enamel, dentin, restored crown, core, cement
and post).
Eighteen experimental models with different material
congurations were simulated as reported in Table 1. The
mechanical characteristics of all the simulated materials are
reported in Table 2; the mechanical properties of dentine and
enamel were assigned according to literature data [2527].
The posts were considered made up of long glass bers
embedded into a polymeric matrix. This composite mate-

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d e n t a l m a t e r i a l s 2 3 ( 2 0 0 7 ) 983993

Fig. 1 Three-dimensional nite element model of the restorative systems.


Table 1 Experimental models (Feldsp., feldspathic ceramic; GDA, Gradia direct anterior; GFL, Gradia ow; GFR, Gradia
Forte; GDP, Gradia direct posterior)
Model
1 (control)
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18

Crown

Abutment

Post/cement

Natural tooth
Feldsp.
Feldsp.
Feldsp.
Feldsp.
Feldsp.
GFR
GFR
GFR
GFR
GFR
Gradia
Gradia
Gradia
Gradia
Gradia

Natural tooth
GDA
GDA + GFL
GFL
Unil core

Glass bers + unil core


Glass bers + unil core
Glass bers + unil core
Glass bers + unil core
Natural tooth

GDA
GDA + GFL
GFL
Unil core

Glass bers + unil core


Glass bers + unil core
Glass bers + unil core
Glass bers + unil core
Natural tooth

GDA
GDA + GFL
GFL
Unil core
GDA
GDP

Table 2 Elastic properties of the isotropic materials


Material/component

Elastic modulus
(GPa)

Poissons
ratio

Dentin
Enamel
Feldspathic ceramics
Composite
Gradia direct anterior
Gradia ow
Gradia Forte
Gradia direct posterior
Unil core

18.6
84.1
69
16
5.2
7.4
13
6.7
13

0.32
0.33
0.3
0.3
0.22
0.22
0.22
0.22
0.22

Glass bers + unil core


Glass bers + unil core
Glass bers + unil core
Glass bers + unil core
Glass bers + unil core
Glass bers + unil core

rial was considered orthotropic, so that it showed different


mechanical properties along the ber direction (x-direction)
and along the other two normal directions (y- and z-direction).
The mechanical characteristics of the glass ber post are
reported in Table 3. Ex , Ey and Ez represent the elastic moduli along the three-dimensional directions while xy , xz and
yz and Gxy , Gxz and Gyz are the Poissons ratios and the shear
moduli in the orthogonal planes (xy, xz and yz), respectively.
Due to the comparative aim of the structural evaluations,
the following arbitrary commercially available post geometry
was used:
- 6% conicity;
- 1.0 mm tip diameter;
- 10 mm insertion depth (about two-third of the root length).

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d e n t a l m a t e r i a l s 2 3 ( 2 0 0 7 ) 983993

Table 3 Orthotropic properties of the glass post: elastic


moduli (E expressed in GPa), Poissons ratios () and
shear moduli (G)
Ex ,
Ey ,
Ez ,
xy
xz
yz
Gxy
Gxz
Gyz

37
9.5
9.5
0.27
0.34
0.27
3.10
3.50
3.10

A linear static structural analysis was performed to calculate the strain and stress distributions in different restoring
congurations. An arbitrary load of 10 N was applied at 60
angle with tooth longitudinal axis on the palatal surface of
the crown to simulate tearing function (Fig. 2). The static load
of 10 N was dened to compare the systems in the eld of low
deformation where a linear static analysis can be performed
with reliable results. Results of a static linear analysis are lineary proportional with the applied load.
In order to identify areas of strain and stress concentration
where possible fatigue failures are more expected to occur,
the choice of the pertinent stress representation criterion was
based on the evaluation of failure predictive potential of the
analysis performed. Von Mises (equivalent stresses) energetic
criterion was then chosen. Under fatigue loading, in fact, the
calculated stresses should relate to fracture probability and,
therefore, to the assumption that different stress states having
the same effect are equivalent when determining the system
failure at critical stress values (failure criterion). In such cases,
accurate predictions were observed [2123].
The following assumptions were made:
- dentin was assumed as an elastic and isotropic material
[28,29];

Fig. 2 Arbitrary load application.

- complete bonding between crown and cement and between


post and cement was considered;
- rigid constraints were considered at level of the root.
The assumption of perfect bonding resulted in homogeneous stress distributions reducing problems regarding possible stress concentrations caused by the presence of interface
imperfections or debonded areas.
The periodontal ligament was not simulated and rigid constraints were considered in all the experimental models: such
an aspect can be avoided due to the comparative purpose of
the present study. Nevertheless, the presence of a viscoelastic constraint would result in a different angle of application
of the load and in a more signicant effect on exural stress
build-up.

3.

Results

Tables 4 and 5 show the maximum values and concentration


areas of strain and stress recorded in the present study, respectively. Moreover, the peak values of the different anatomical
and restorative components of each model were reported:
crown, abutment, post/cement, root, combined crown interface (CI) and root interface (RI) were considered.

3.1.

Strain analysis

In all the models the values of strain recorded at the middle third of the buccal aspect of the root surface were at their
maxima. On the contrary, the minimum values were noticed
at level of both the apical portion of the post and the root apex.
In Mod.1 (control) the maximum deformations were evidenced at level of the cementoenamel junction (CEJ) on both
the buccal and palatal aspects of root cement and dentin.
Strains progressively decreased from the outer to the inner
part of the root and from the CEJ towards the incisal margin
of the crown as well (Fig. 3).
In Mod.2 the maximum strains were evident at level of the
root side of the CEJ next to the prosthetic margin and progressively decreased from the outer to the inner part of the root.
The crown showed minimum strains at the cervical region,
whereas the middle and incisal thirds were almost free of
deformations (Fig. 3).
In Mod.3, Mod.4, Mod.5 and Mod.6 strain distributions quite
similar to those described for Mod.2 were evident but the prosthetic crown appeared even less defromed at the cervical third.
The glass ber post was interested by minimal strains on the
buccal aspect (Fig. 3).
In Mod.7 the maximum strains were evident at level of the
root side of the CEJ next to the prosthetic margin and progressively decreased from the outer to the inner part of the root
and from the cervical third towards the incisal margin of the
crown as well (Fig. 4).
In Mod.8, Mod.9, Mod.10 and Mod.11 the maximum strains
were evident at level of the root side of the CEJ next to the
prosthetic margin and progressively decreased from the outer
to the inner part of the root and from the cervical third
towards the incisal margin of the crown as well. Deformations
concentrated on the palatal aspect of either the prosthetic

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d e n t a l m a t e r i a l s 2 3 ( 2 0 0 7 ) 983993

Table 4 Strain values expressed in  (CI, combined crown interface; RI, root interface)
Model
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18

Maximum

Crown

440 (root cervical area)


500 (root cervical area)
500 (root cervical area)
500 (root cervical area)
500 (root cervical area)
500 (root cervical area)
440 (root cervical area)
500 (abutment/post interface)
500 (abutment/post interface)
440 (root cervical area)
440 (root cervical area)
500 (crown cervical area)
500 (crown cervical area)
500 (crown cervical area)
500 (crown cervical area)
500 (crown cervical area)
500 (crown cervical area)
500 (crown cervical area)

55167
55167
55167
55167
55167
55330
55440
55330
55440
55440
55500
55500
55500
55500
55500
55500
55500

Abutment

Post/cement

55330
55110
110330
110330
55167
55167
55220
167500
167500
167389
110278
110440
167500
167500
167440
110330
167500
167500

crown and the abutment. Moreover, strains were noticed


in the cementpost interface at the CI and in the palatal
side of the coronal part of the cement layer. The glass ber
post was interested by minimal strains on the buccal aspect
(Fig. 4).
In Mod.12 the maximum strains were evident on both the
buccal and palatal aspects of the cervical margin and on the
palatal concavity of the prosthetic crown. Deformations progressively decreased from the outer to the inner part of the
root and from the cervical third towards the incisal margin
of the crown as well. The glass ber post was interested by
limited strains particularly in its coronal part (Fig. 4).
In Mod.13, Mod.14, Mod.15 and Mod.16 strain distributions quite similar to those described for Mod.11 were evident
but higher deformations were noticed in both the prosthetic
crown and the abutment, particularly at the palatal concavity; such a phenomenon was less evident in Mod.16. A strain
peak interested the CI and the glass ber post was interested
by limited strains on the buccal aspect (Fig. 5).

Root

55440
55500
55110
55167
55167
55167

55500
55500
55500
55500
55440

55167
55167
55167
55167

55440
55440
55440
55440
55440

55167
55167
55167
55167
55220
55167

55440
55440
55440
55440
55440
55440

CI

RI

55330
55330
55167
55167

110389
110440
110330
110222

167500
167500
110389
110167
167500
110440

55167
55167
55167
55167

55167
55167
55167
55167

55330
55330
55167
55167
55220
55220

In Mod.17 strain distributions quite similar to those


described for Mod.1315 were evident but even higher deformations interested both the cervical third of the prosthetic
crown and the abutment, particularly at the palatal concavity
(Fig. 5).
In Mod.18 deformations quite similar to those noticed in
Mod.1315 were recorded (Fig. 5).

3.2.

Stress analysis

In all the models the values of stress recorded at the middle third of the buccal aspect of the root surface were at their
maxima. On the contrary, the minimum values were noticed
at level of both the apical portion of the post and the root
apex.
In Mod.1 (control), the maximum stresses were evidenced
at level of the cementoenamel junction on both the buccal
and palatal aspects of root cement and dentin. Stress progressively decreased from the outer to the inner part of the root

Table 5 Stress values expressed in MPa (CI, combined crown interface; RI, root interface)
Model
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18

Maximum

Crown

7.8 (root cervical area)


8.9 (root cervical area)
8.9 (root cervical area + RI)
10 (root cervical area + RI)
10 (root cervical area + RI)
10 (root cervical area + RI)
7.8 (root cervical area)
10 (CI)
10 (CI)
8.9 (CI)
8.9 (root cervical area + CI + RI)
7.8 (root cervical area)
10 (CI)
10 (CI)
10 (CI)
10 (CI)
10 (CI)
10 (CI)

1.18.9
1.18.9
1.110
1.110
1.110
1.15.5
1.16.7
1.16.7
1.16.7
1.16.7
1.13.3
1.13.3
1.13.3
1.13.3
1.13.3
1.13.3
1.13.3

Abutment
1.16.7
1.12.2
1.12.2
1.12.2
1.12.2
1.12.2
1.14.4
1.12.2
1.12.2
1.12.2
1.13.3
1.16.7
1.13.3
1.13.3
1.13.3
1.16.7
1.13.3
1.13.3

Post/cement

Root

1.17.8
1.18.9
1.17.8
1.17.8
1.17.8
1.17.8

1.18.9
1.18.9
1.18.9
1.18.9
1.17.8

1.110
1.110
1.18.9
1.17.8

1.17.8
1.17.8
1.17.8
1.17.8
1.17.8

1.110
1.110
1.110
1.110
1.110
1.110

1.17.8
1.17.8
1.17.8
1.17.8
1.17.8
1.17.8

CI

RI

1.15.5
1.15.5
1.15.5
2.25.5

2.210
2.210
2.28.9
2.27.8

2.210
2.210
2.210
3.310
2.210
2.210

1.17.8
1.17.8
1.17.8
1.17.8

1.17.8
1.17.8
1.17.8
1.17.8

1.110
1.110
1.110
1.110
1.110
1.110

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d e n t a l m a t e r i a l s 2 3 ( 2 0 0 7 ) 983993

Fig. 3 Strain distributions in Mod.16 (strains expressed in ).

and from the CEJ towards the incisal margin of the crown as
well (Fig. 6).
In Mod.2 stress distributions quite similar to those
described for Mod.1 were noticed. Stress concentrated at level
of the root side of the CEJ buccally whereas it mainly interested

the prosthetic margin palatally. The coronal residual dentin


appeared less stressed than the control natural tooth (Fig. 6).
In Mod.3, Mod.4, Mod.5 and Mod.6 stress distributions quite
similar to those described for Mod.2 were evident. The abutment was interested by minimal stress concentrations. Tha

Fig. 4 Strain distributions in Mod.712 (strains expressed in ).

d e n t a l m a t e r i a l s 2 3 ( 2 0 0 7 ) 983993

989

Fig. 5 Strain distributions in Mod.1318 (strains expressed in ).

glass ber post resulted particularly stressed at the buccal


aspect of the RI (Fig. 6).
In Mod.7 the maximum stress was evident at level of the
root side of the CEJ next to the prosthetic margin and progressively decreased from the outer to the inner part of the root

and from the cervical third towards the incisal margin of the
crown as well (Fig. 7).
In Mod.8, Mod.9, Mod.10 and Mod.11 lower stresses than
in Mod.36 were recorded in the cervical area of the restorative systems. On the contrary, higher stresses interested the

Fig. 6 Stress distributions in Mod.16 (stresses expressed in MPa).

990

d e n t a l m a t e r i a l s 2 3 ( 2 0 0 7 ) 983993

Fig. 7 Stress distributions in Mod.712 (stresses expressed in MPa).

buccal side of the glass ber post particularly at the CI


(Fig. 7).
In Mod.12 stresses concentrated at the root side of the
prosthetic margin particularly on the buccal aspect. Stresses
progressively decreased from the cervical third to the incisal

margin of the prosthetic crown. The abutment was mainly


stressed in the cervical region. The glass ber post showed
a stress concentration at the CI (Fig. 7).
In Mod.13, Mod.14, Mod.15 and Mod.16 stresses concentrated at the root side of the prosthetic margin particularly

Fig. 8 Stress distributions in Mod.1318 (stresses expressed in MPa).

d e n t a l m a t e r i a l s 2 3 ( 2 0 0 7 ) 983993

on the buccal aspect. Stresses progressively decreased


from the cervical third to the incisal margin of the prosthetic crown. Stress concentrations were noticed along
the cementpost interface particluarly at the CI either
buccally and palatally. Stress on the palatal side of the
CI disappeared in Mod.16 where higher stress concentrations were evident in the cervical region of the abutment
(Fig. 8).
In Mod.17 and Mod.18 stress distributions quite similar to
those described for Mod.1315 were recorded. Lower stresses
were noticed in the cervical area of the abutment whereas
slightly higher stresses concentrated at level of the root side
of the prosthetic margin (Fig. 8).

4.

Discussion

According to the results of the present study, the mechanical properties of the crown and core material inuenced both
the position of concentration areas and the level of stress and
strain along the dentin/cement/post interfaces; consequently,
both the null hypotheses tested were rejected.
Stress concentrates where not homogeneous material distributions are present just like interfaces. Interfaces of materials with different moduli of elasticity represent the weak
link of restorative systems, as the toughness/stiffness mismatch inuences the stress distribution [3032]. In the oral
enviroment, restorative systems are subjected to fatigue
stress, namely the repeated application of lower loads than
the yield strenght of the restorative materials. Nevertheless, such a cycling load application might produce microcracks causing the failure of the restorative system [13].
Such micro-cracks nucleate at locations of highest stress
and lowest local strenght. Systems investigated either in
static and fatigue loading conditions show underposable highest stress concentration areas and similar failure patterns
[3335].
Static linear analyses can be successfully applied to extrapolate reliable information about the relative susceptibility
of systems to fatigue loading conditions. On this basis, the
assumption that systems showing homogeneous stress disributions in a static analysis would show a lower fatigue sensitivity in clinical applications can be state.
The present study compared the stress distributions of different restorative systems to identify areas of high stress concentration, where eventual fatigue failures are more expected
to occur.
When the loading of a sound tooth (Mod.1, control) was
simulated, the stress was almost uniformely distributed in
tooth strucure. Nevertheless, the stress concentrated at the
cervical region, where the cementoenamel junction creates
a physiological discontinuity of the tissue mechanical properties.
Due to its increased rigidity (E = 69 GPa), the feldspathic
crown luted on a natural tooth abutment (Mod.2) transmitted
lower deformations to coronal dentin concentrating the strain
on root dentin next to the CEJ. Similarly, when the feldspathic
crown was luted on composite cores (Mod.3, Mod.4, Mod.5 and
Mod.6), the ceramic produced a stress and strain shielding
effect on the core materials: as a consequence, deformations

991

concentrated on root dentin next to the prosthetic crown interface. One one side, root dentin absorbed part of the strain but,
on the other side, it conveyed limited deformations to the glass
post. Stress arose at the RI due to the difference in mechanical
resistance between the post and the dentin. Stress and strain
values recorded in Mod.3, Mod.4, Mod.5 and Mod.6 were limited because of the good deformation absorbing capability of
the dentin. Moreover, when a relatively rigid material just like
feldspathic ceramic was used to build a prosthetic crown, the
mechanical properties of the more elastic composite materials
did not signicantly inuence the stress and strain concentrations within the core.
On the contrary, when a prosthetic crown made up of a high
modulus composite material (e.g. Gradia Forte, E = 13.7 GPa)
was simulated and luted on composite abutments (Mod.7,
Mod.8, Mod.9, Mod.10 and Mod.11), the lower resistance to
deformation of the composite crown produced higher deformation values in the core structure than those recorded simulating the presence of a feldspathic crown (Mod.3, Mod.4,
Mod.5 and Mod.6). The deformations occurring in the core
structure were transferred to the coronal part of the glass post.
As a consequence, the discontinuity in the mechanical properties of the core materials, the cement, the post and the dentin
caused a stress concentration at the CI. Differently than the
restorative systems provided with a feldspathic crown, in case
of a high modulus composite crown the mechanical characteristics of the core materials signicantly inuenced the stress
arising at the CI. Cores with lower elastic modulus transferred
higher deformations to the glass post, increasing the material
properties discontinuity and producing higher stress values
at the CI. Conversely, higher elastic modulus cores reduced
the strain of the glass post and decreased the mechanical
properties mismatch, leading to lower stress arising at the
CI.
When a low modulus composite (e.g. Gradia, E = 6.4 GPa)
crown was simulated on a natural tooth abutment (Mod.12),
the stress and strain distributions in tooth tissues remained
basically unchanged. Due to the low resistance to deformation
of the composite material, most strains arose at the cervical
third of the crown. When a low modulus composite crown
was luted on composites cores (Mod.13, Mod.14, Mod.15 and
Mod.16), the deformation transferring phenomenon previously described for Mod.8, Mod.9, Mod.10 and Mod.11 was signicantly emphasized. Perhaps, the values of stress concentrating at the CI were signicantly higher than those recorded
in both the feldspathic crown and high modulus composite
crown systems. In Mod.16 the higher modulus of the core
material signicantly reduced the stress arising at the CI when
compared to Mod.13, Mod.14 and Mod.15.
Mod.17 and Mod.18 simulated direct restorations of glass
post-reinforced teeth by means of a low modulus direct composite (e.g. Gradia direct anterior, E = 5.2 GPa) and a high modulus direct composite (e.g. Gradia direct posterior, E = 6.7 GPa),
respectively. Due to the lower rigidity, Mod.17 conguration
transferred higher deformations to the coronal part of the
glass post and increased stress arising at the CI. On the contrary, the higher resistance to deformation of the high modulus direct composite material reduced strains of the glass
post, leading the restorative system to undergo lower stress
and strain values at the CI.

992

5.

d e n t a l m a t e r i a l s 2 3 ( 2 0 0 7 ) 983993

Conclusions

In FEA, assumptions related to material properties of simulated structures are not usually absolute representations of
the structure. In reality the structures modeled are much
more dynamic. Moreover, the physical characteristics of tissues vary from site to site and from individual to individual. The dimensions of natural restored teeth may deviate
from those selected for the study and the mechanical constants involved may vary as well. In spite of these limitations,
the present study may be considered to provide relative values that are meaningful representations of qualitative clinical
trends.
Within the limitations of the present theoretical study, the
following conclusions can be drawn:

- the mechanical properties of the crown and core material


inuenced the position of concentration areas of stress and
strain along the dentin/cement/post interface;
- the mechanical properties of the crown and core material inuenced the level of stress and strain along the
dentin/cement/post interface;
- the cervical region of the restored tooth was subjected to
the highest strain and stress concentrations;
- the higher the rigidity of the crown and core materials the
more apical the stress and strain concentrations along the
adhesive interfaces.

Further in vitro and in vivo analyses should be performed


to conrm the clinical validity of the data provided by the 3D
simulations of the present study.

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