Purpose: To investigate the resistance to fracture of three crown and core combinations, made with different core build-up systems on human teeth, using a standardized test method.
Materials and methods: The anatomic crowns were removed from six groups (n = 8) of endodontically treated, human premolars in conformity with a brass master dye, using the Celay duplicating device. Three of these groups were provided with a core build-up with-out an endodontic post (Ti-Core, Photo-Core and Ketac-Molar); two other groups were provided with a core build-up with an endodontic post (a cast post and core, and a composite with a silica post), and one group was not provided with a core. All groups were then prepared in conformity with a master dye. This preparation ended in axial dentin, 2 mm apical from the core build-up. Thus in the sixth group (premolars without a core build-up), this preparation only affected the 2 mm axial dentin (ferrule), which resulted in a small retention area (2 mm axial dentine) for the crown. Finally, a standard crown was cemented and 24 hrs afterwards loaded until fracture in an Instron testing machine at an angle of 45 degrees. For comparison with the standardized procedures, a seventh group (Photo-core without post) was prepared manually, with dimensions similar to the standardized groups.
Results: Within the standardized test set-up no significant difference in strength between the 6 groups could be demonstrated. Only in the case of the hand-made Photo-Core and the cast core was the fracture load significantly different (P= 0.01). In addition, this hand-made group displayed a larger standard deviation than the standardized groups. Taking into consideration the fact that the maximum bite force in the bicuspid region is about 580 N, these tests showed that within the limitations of the standardized test set-up, where the samples had no history of fatiguing, a core build-up without a post is an alternative for the conventional cast core. In this study, the fabrication of the standardized samples proved to be accurate, fast and economical. This method also enables the evaluation of the performance of core and crown design combinations in relationship to the amount of remaining tooth structure by using different master dies and, moreover, to reduce the high standard deviation in this kind of research.