The aim of this study was to assess the fatigue loading behavior and fracture resistance of endodontically treated teeth restored with adhesively luted bundled fiber posts in comparison to solid fiber posts. Image analysis (2D and 3D) was applied to evaluate modes of failure and to characterize susceptible parts of the post-and-core interface.
Crowns of 72 human similar-sized central upper incisors were removed and roots received a conventional root canal filling prior to establishing 4 groups of core build-up: No Post group (nP) received a 4 mm deep filling made of composite inside the canal with no dental post, fiber post group (FP) received a conventional solid post, and two experimental groups received bundles of 6 (FB6) or 12 (FB12) 0.3 mm thin fiber posts, respectively. Posts were placed adhesively inside the root canal using a dual-curing build-up composite in combination with a self-etch adhesive, the latter was also used for nP group. Upon completion of core build-ups, all teeth received full-ceramic crowns that recreated the original tooth form. Samples were subjected in a 135° angle to thermo-mechanical loading (TML) for 1.2 Mill. chewing cycles followed by static load tests (fracture resistance). Fracture modes as well as intracanal failure modes with respect to failed interfaces were analyzed using optical and electron microscopy (SEM). Microcomputer tomography (μCT) was used to exemplary compare pre and post TML geometries.
Static load test was significantly different between groups (p < 0.0005; Kruskal-Wallistest). Pairwise comparison showed that the nP group (221 ± 103N) failed at significantly lower forces compared to the FP (454 ± 184N), FB6 (477 ± 250N) and FB12 (478 ± 260N) groups (p ≤ 0,001; Mann-Whitney-U-test). Fracture modes were significantly affected by the presence or absence of a post (p ≤ 0,016; Chi-square test) revealing increased incidence of restorable fractures at the cervical region for nP group. Microscopic analysis revealed more intracanal failures at interfaces between post surfaces and composite for solid posts, whereas fiber bundled posts mostly failed at the interfaces between composite and dentin. Micro-CT analysis showed no alterations of the root-post-and-core structure after TML except slight deformations of occasionally entrapped voids.
Fracture resistance and fracture modes were significantly affected by the presence or absence of a post, whereas the investigated post groups did not differ from each other. However intracanal failure revealed differences in adhesive failures between solid fiber posts and bundled fiber posts. Deformations of entrapped voids, revealed by micro-Ct analyses after TML, lead to the assumption that applied forces result in alterations in the regions of voids.

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