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Ceramic Printing Comparative Study of the Flexural Strength of 3D Printed and Milled Zirconia

Michael Bergler, CDT, MDT/Jonathan Korostoff, DMD, PhD/Laura Torrecillas-Martinez, DDS, MS/Francis K. Mante, BDS, MS, PhD, DMD

DOI: 10.11607/ijp.6749

Purpose: To determine and compare the mechanical properties of 3D-printed yttriastabilized zirconia to milled isostatic pressed yttria-stabilized zirconia, with the following hypotheses: (1) The flexural strength of 3D-printed yttria-stabilized zirconia is comparable to milled yttria-stabilized isostatic pressed zirconia; and (2) thermocycling and chewing simulation do not affect the flexural strength of 3D-printed yttria-stabilized zirconia. Materials and Methods: A total of 30 bars of an experimental 3D-printed 3 mol% yttriastabilized zirconia (LithaCon 3Y 230, Lithoz) and 10 bars of milled isostatic pressed zirconia (Prettau Zirconia, Zirkonzahn) were utilized. The printed zirconia bars were divided into three groups (n = 10 bars per group): (1) untreated (control); (2) thermocycled; and (3) tested after chewing simulation. A flexural strength test was performed on all samples using a three-point bend test in an Instron Universal testing machine. One-way analysis of variance on ranks was used to compare milled to printed zirconia. The effects of thermocycling and load cycling on 3D-printed zirconia were also determined. Results: The flexural strength values for milled and printed zirconia were 936.3 255.0 MPa and 855.4 112.6 MPa, respectively. There was no statistically significant difference in flexural strength between the milled and printed zirconia (P = .178). No statistically significant differences were observed between the control 3D-printed zirconia group and the thermocycled (888.4 59.3 MPa) or load-cycled printed zirconia (789.6 133.8 MPa; P = .119). Conclusion: Printed 3 mol% yttria-stabilized zirconia has comparable flexural strength to milled yttria-stabilized isostatic pressed zirconia. The thermocycling and chewing simulation used in this study did not significantly alter the flexural strength of the printed 3 mol% yttria-stabilized zirconia. These results indicate a promising role for 3D printing in the fabrication of zirconia restorations. Additional studies are needed to explore the full potential of this technology.

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