- Open Access
Comparisons of maximum deformation and failure forces at the implant–abutment interface of titanium implants between titanium-alloy and zirconia abutments with two levels of marginal bone loss
- Chiung-Fang Wang1, 2,
- Heng-Li Huang1,
- Dan-Jae Lin3,
- Yen-Wen Shen1, 2,
- Lih-Jyh Fuh†1, 2Email author and
- Jui-Ting Hsu†1Email author
© Wang et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. 2013
- Received: 29 January 2013
- Accepted: 15 May 2013
- Published: 20 May 2013
Zirconia materials are known for their optimal aesthetics, but they are brittle, and concerns remain about whether their mechanical properties are sufficient for withstanding the forces exerted in the oral cavity. Therefore, this study compared the maximum deformation and failure forces of titanium implants between titanium-alloy and zirconia abutments under oblique compressive forces in the presence of two levels of marginal bone loss.
Twenty implants were divided into Groups A and B, with simulated bone losses of 3.0 and 1.5 mm, respectively. Groups A and B were also each divided into two subgroups with five implants each: (1) titanium implants connected to titanium-alloy abutments and (2) titanium implants connected to zirconia abutments. The maximum deformation and failure forces of each sample was determined using a universal testing machine. The data were analyzed using the nonparametric Mann–Whitney test.
The mean maximum deformation and failure forces obtained the subgroups were as follows: A1 (simulated bone loss of 3.0 mm, titanium-alloy abutment) = 540.6 N and 656.9 N, respectively; A2 (simulated bone loss of 3.0 mm, zirconia abutment) = 531.8 N and 852.7 N; B1 (simulated bone loss of 1.5 mm, titanium-alloy abutment) = 1070.9 N and 1260.2 N; and B2 (simulated bone loss of 1.5 mm, zirconia abutment) = 907.3 N and 1182.8 N. The maximum deformation force differed significantly between Groups B1 and B2 but not between Groups A1 and A2. The failure force did not differ between Groups A1 and A2 or between Groups B1 and B2. The maximum deformation and failure forces differed significantly between Groups A1 and B1 and between Groups A2 and B2.
Based on this experimental study, the maximum deformation and failure forces are lower for implants with a marginal bone loss of 3.0 mm than of 1.5 mm. Zirconia abutments can withstand physiological occlusal forces applied in the anterior region.
- Dental implant
- Failure force
- Maximum deformation force
- Titanium alloy
Treatments for missing teeth include fixed bridges, removable partial dentures, and dental implants[1–5]. The survival rates of dental implants are generally high. Wennerberg and Albrektsson reported that implants are successfully placed in 96–97% of prosthetic constructions, and that 87–97% of such implants are still in use after 5 years. Numerous factors affect the success rate of implants. Goodacre et al. divided the causes of implant failure into the following six categories: surgery, implant loss, bone loss, peri-implant soft tissue, mechanical difficulties, and esthetic/phonetic problems. Esthetic problems are a challenge for dentists. Titanium abutments respond favorably to gum tissue and have favorable mechanical properties. However, the unesthetic bluish color of titanium remains visible through the soft tissues[9–11], which is of great concern when the maxillary incisors are treated, especially in patients with a high smile line or a thin mucosal biotype. The increasing demand for more favorable esthetic outcomes makes ceramic a potentially attractive alternative material because of its toothlike color.
The first ceramic abutments were developed in the 1990s to mitigate the unsightly color of titanium. The initial replacements were made of alumina[12, 13]; however, several clinical studies[14, 15] found fractures on alumina abutments. This weakness prompted the development of yttrium-oxide-stabilized zirconia, which is now widely used in dentistry. Vagkopoulou et al. demonstrated that the transformation-toughening characteristic of yttrium-oxide-stabilized zirconia is effective at preventing crack propagation. Yildirim et al. indicated that yttrium-oxide-stabilized zirconia ceramic has twice the strength of alumina ceramic. However, whether zirconia abutments will entirely replace titanium abutments remains unclear.
In addition to esthetic problems, bone loss is another common concern in implant failures. Goodacre et al. observed a mean bone loss of 0.9 mm (range from 0.4 to 1.6 mm) after 1 year, with an ongoing annual bone loss of 0.1 mm (range from 0 to 0.2 mm). Roos-Jansåker and colleagues found that the bone level was located 3 mm apical to the implant head in 20.4% of Brånemark implants after 9 to 14 years of use. They further claimed that 8% of the implants suffered from progressive bone loss (≥1.8 mm) after 9 to 14 years when compared with 1-year data. From 1997–2004, 3609 implants were reported as failures, for reasons including implant mobility, inflammation/bone loss, and breakage.
While titanium-alloy and zirconia abutments are themselves resistant to breakage, peri-implant marginal bone loss can result in implant failure. These two materials have distinct mechanical properties, but few studies have compared them in detail. Therefore, the objectives of this study were to determine the maximum deformation and failure forces of titanium implants with titanium-alloy abutments and zirconia abutments in the presence of 3.0 and 1.5 mm of marginal bone loss. In addition, damage to the implant–abutment interface was observed using scanning electron microscopy (SEM).
Maximum deformation and failure forces of the combined implant and abutment
Observing damage to the implant–abutment interface
SEM (JEOL, JSM-5400, Japan) was used to observe interfacial damage between the titanium implant and the abutment performed before and after mechanical testing at 35× magnification. For these evaluations the implants and abutments from all groups were cleaned with alcohol and dried, and the surfaces of the zirconia abutments were then coated with gold.
The maximum deformation and failure forces obtained from the force-vs-displacement data of implants with titanium-alloy and zirconia abutments with exposures of 3.0 and 1.5 mm were summarized as mean and SD (standard deviation) values. Due to the small sample, the nonparametric Mann–Whitney test was used to analyze the forces at maximum deformation and failure, and to assess differences according to the exposure distance. The level of significance was determined as P < 0.05. All statistical analyses were performed using SAS software (Version 9.1.2, SAS Institute, Cary, NC, USA).
Measured maximum deformation and failure forces in newtons (N) for the different groups
Bone loss of 3.0 mm
Bone loss of 1.5 mm
Titanium- alloy abutment
Titanium- alloy abutment
Maximum deformation Failure force (N)
Failure force (N)
Several advantages of zirconia have prompted its use by increasing numbers of dentists and patients: its strength is similar to that of other metals, its color and translucency are identical to those of teeth, and it exhibits high biocompatibility, which reduces the risk of inflammation because dental plaque is unlikely to accumulate. However, the strength of zirconia abutments is not as well understood as that of titanium abutments. Some studies have investigated the strength of zirconia abutments, but none of them considered the limit strength and interface damage mode of zirconia abutments that can cause a peri-implant bone to fail over time. Therefore, the main purpose of this study was to determine the maximum deformation and failure forces of titanium implants with titanium-alloy and zirconia abutments under different simulated bone-loss conditions.
Many clinical failure modes has been reported for dental implants[20, 21]. In addition to infection soon after dental implant insertion and poor oral hygiene, another major reason for such failures is poor osseointegration, which refers to the interface condition between the implant and the surrounding bone. Osseointegration may be poor due to overloading or primary instability[2, 23, 24] of the implant. Some marginal bone loss is generally observed after dental implant insertion, which begins at the neck of the implant and can spread to the first thread of the implant body or to the first contact between the bone and the rough surface of the implant. Sunden Piknér and Gröndahl reported that 2.3% of implants demonstrated a marginal bone loss ≥3 mm within the first year, with this proportion increasing to 7.0% after 9 years. Rocci et al. observed 97 implants with turned surfaces in 46 maxillae that were used for single or partial rehabilitation, and found an average surrounding bone loss of 1.5 mm after 3 years of prosthetic loading. Various factors such as the implant design in the cervical region, abutment design, biologic width, and platform-switching concept influence bone loss, and the reported range of marginal bone loss in the first year is 0.4 to 1.6 mm, with an annual rate of 0 to 0.2 mm thereafter. The experiments performed in the present study exposed the top 3.0 and 1.5 mm of the implant, which was designed to simulate the typical clinical conditions after 5–7 and 20 years, respectively, thereby examining the influence of implant marginal bone loss on both medium- and long-term bases.
Yildirim et al. used static tests to compare the fracture load of zirconia and aluminum-oxide abutments to 30-degree oblique loading, and found that the zirconia abutments (737.6 N) were stronger than aluminum-oxide abutments (280.1 N). Kerstein et al. applied 40-degree oblique loading to measure the fracture strength of two brands of zirconia abutment: an Atlantis abutment constructed from zirconia, and a Nobel Biocare Procera AllZirkon abutment. They found that the fracture strength was significant larger for the Atlantis abutment (831 N) than for the Nobel Biocare Procera AllZirkon abutment (740 N). However, for both types of zirconia abutments the failure load exceeded the maximum human bite force. The results of the mechanical tests of the strength of zirconia abutments in the present study may differ from those of the previous studies due to differences in the experimental setups, particularly the angle of the applied load, the implant and abutment sizes and shapes, and the design of the upper loading member. The experimental apparatus used in the present study was designed based on the IS0 14801 standard, with only the distance at the top of the exposed implant—which was the main research focus of this study—adjusted to allow comparisons.
Ferrario et al. found that the single-tooth bite forces in healthy young male adults were 150 and 140 N for the central and lateral incisors, respectively. The physiological maximum incisor biting forces may up to 290 N depending on facial morphology and age. The average maximum failure forces for all groups in the present study exceeded the mentioned bite forces in anterior areas, as well as for all specimens tested, for which plastic deformations first appeared under oblique compressive loads exceeding 480 N. Zirconia abutments can therefore be considered a valid alternative to titanium-alloy abutments in anterior areas. However, zirconia abutments must be further evaluated in the posterior area of the jaw bone because the occlusal force is substantially larger than that of the anterior teeth.
Calderon et al. found that the maximum bite force varied from 656.1 to 108.9 N in females with bruxism (mean maximum bite force: 395.6 N), and from 999.3 to 262.8 N in males with bruxism (mean maximum bite force: 584.5 N). These results suggest that in patients with bruxism and serious marginal bone loss (>3.0 mm) surrounding the implant, both zirconia and titanium-alloy abutments should be applied with extreme care.
Applying oblique loading to a dental implant without marginal bone loss will result in stress concentration at the implant–abutment interface, which is the fulcrum (pivot) of the structure. The energy associated with the applied force would pass through the abutment and onto the implant–abutment interface and abutment screw, and finally to the bottom of the implant and surrounding host material. However, the energy associated with applying an oblique loading to an implant with marginal bone loss would pass through the abutment and onto the implant–abutment interface and abutment screw, to the exposed part (upper side) of the implant, and finally to the bottom of the implant and surrounding host material. In Groups A1 and A2 (with 3 mm of bone loss), the bottom of the abutment screw was located near the fulcrum, and thus the upper abutment screw could enhance the structural stiffness of the exposed part of the implant. The implant–abutment structure was weakest in the fulcrum, which was 3 mm below the top of the implant. Therefore, if the applied loading exceeded the strength of the implant, the implant would begin bending, the thread would then crack, and finally the implant would fracture. In Groups B1 and B2 (with 1.5 mm of bone loss), the lower part of the abutment screw was located in the unexposed part of the implant, which was embedded in the specimen holder. In addition, the upper (cylinder) portion of the implant had a larger structural stiffness than the thread of the implant. The stress would be concentrated at the implant–abutment interface, similar to the case without marginal bone loss. Therefore, most of the applied energy would act at the implant–abutment interface, resulting in serious damage.
Human occlusal forces are dynamic. However, a dynamic loading test was not used to simulate the aging process in this study, due to previous studies indicating that the aging process does not significantly affect the fracture strength of zirconia specimens[28, 32, 33]. Basically, the survivability of zirconia depends on its ability to withstand occlusal forces. The experimental results indicated that the maximum deformation forces in Groups A2 and B2 were 531.8 and 907.3 N, which are much smaller than normal human bite forces. In a very small number of clinical cases the patient’s bite force could be larger than these maximum deformation forces and the marginal bone loss could be larger than 3 mm, resulting in the failure of the implant–zirconia abutment component or fracture of the implant body, although the zirconia abutment itself should remain intact.
Some limitations of this study should be considered. First, the sample size was small, though this was also the case in previous studies[34, 35]; future studies should investigate larger numbers of specimens. Second, this study focused on static loading rather than dynamic loading. Although previous studies[28, 32, 33] have indicated that the use of static or dynamic loading would have no significant affect on the strength of zirconia specimens, further fatigue experiments are needed to confirm this. Third, only a single type of implant was used in this study, and so the effect of different implant sizes and implant–abutment connection types should be also investigated in future studies.
The experimental results obtained in single static loading tests indicated that implants with a simulated marginal bone loss of 3.0 mm exhibited decreased maximum deformation and failure forces compared to those with a simulated marginal bone loss of 1.5 mm. Zirconia abutments can withstand physiological occlusal forces applied in the anterior region for both 1.5-mm and 3.0-mm marginal bone losses. Therefore, the clinical use of zirconia abutments should be considered when esthetic outcomes are important.
This study was supported by the National Science Council, Taiwan (Grant number: NSC 101-2221-E-039-003) and China Medical University (Grant number: DMR-100–034). The authors thank the Green DenTech company for supplying the test components used in this study, and Professor Y.Y. Shiau and Professor C.S. Chang for their invaluable assistance.
- Chen CL, Chang CL, Lin SJ: Immediate implant placement and provisionalization with simultaneous guided bone regeneration in the esthetic zone. J Dent Sci 2011, 6(1):53–60. 10.1016/j.jds.2011.01.001MathSciNetView ArticleGoogle Scholar
- Huang HL, Tu MG, Fuh LJ, Chen YC, Wu CL, Chen SI, Hsu JT: Effects of elasticity and structure of trabecular bone on the primary stability of dental implants. J Med Biol Eng 2010, 30(2):85–89.Google Scholar
- Lee CC, Lin SC, Kang MJ, Wu SW, Fu PY: Effects of implant threads on the contact area and stress distribution of marginal bone. J Dent Sci 2010, 5(3):156–165. 10.1016/S1991-7902(10)60023-2View ArticleGoogle Scholar
- Hsu JT, Fuh LJ, Lin DJ, Shen YW, Huang HL: Bone strain and interfacial sliding analyses of platform switching and implant diameter on an immediately loaded implant: experimental and three-dimensional finite element analyses. J Periodontol 2009, 80(7):1125–1132. 10.1902/jop.2009.090013View ArticleGoogle Scholar
- Popelut A, Valet F, Fromentin O, Thomas A, Bouchard P: Relationship between sponsorship and failure rate of dental implants: a systematic approach. PloS one 2010, 5(4):e10274. 10.1371/journal.pone.0010274View ArticleGoogle Scholar
- Wennerberg A, Albrektsson T: Current challenges in successful rehabilitation with oral implants. J Oral Rehabil 2011, 38(4):286–294. 10.1111/j.1365-2842.2010.02170.xView ArticleGoogle Scholar
- Sakka S, Coulthard P: Implant failure: etiology and complications. Med Oral Patol Oral Cir Bucal 2011, 16(1):e42–44.View ArticleGoogle Scholar
- Goodacre CJ, Bernal G, Rungcharassaeng K, Kan JYK: Clinical complications with implants and implant prostheses. J Prosthet Dent 2003, 90(2):121–132. 10.1016/S0022-3913(03)00212-9View ArticleGoogle Scholar
- Holst S, Blatz MB, Hegenbarth E, Wichmann M, Eitner S: Prosthodontic considerations for predictable single-implant esthetics in the anterior maxilla. J Oral Maxillofac Surg 2005, 63(9):89–96. 10.1016/j.joms.2005.05.161View ArticleGoogle Scholar
- Kohorst P, Junghanns J, Dittmer MP, Borchers L, Stiesch M: Different CAD/CAM-processing routes for zirconia restorations: influence on fitting accuracy. Clin Oral Investig 2011, 15(4):527–536. 10.1007/s00784-010-0415-9View ArticleGoogle Scholar
- Sorrentino R, De Simone G, Tetè S, Russo S, Zarone F: Five-year prospective clinical study of posterior three-unit zirconia-based fixed dental prostheses. Clin Oral Investig 2012, 16(3):977–985. 10.1007/s00784-011-0575-2View ArticleGoogle Scholar
- Prestipno V, Ingber A: Esthetic high-strength implant abutments. Part I. J Esthet Dent 1993, 5(1):29–36. 10.1111/j.1708-8240.1993.tb00741.xView ArticleGoogle Scholar
- Prestipno V, Ingber A: Esthetic High‒Strength Implant Abutments. Part II. J Esthet Dent 1993, 5(2):63–68. 10.1111/j.1708-8240.1993.tb00750.xView ArticleGoogle Scholar
- Andersson B, Glauser R, Maglione M, Taylor A: Ceramic implant abutments for short-span FPDs: a prospective 5-year multicenter study. Int J Prosthodont 2003, 16(6):640–646.Google Scholar
- Henriksson K, Jemt T: Evaluation of custom-made procera ceramic abutments for single-implant tooth replacement: a prospective 1-year follow-up study. Int J Prosthodont 2003, 16(6):626–630.Google Scholar
- Vagkopoulou T, Koutayas SO, Koidis P, Strub JR: Zirconia in dentistry: Part 1. Discovering the nature of an upcoming bioceramic. Eur J Esthet Dent 2009, 4(2):130–151.Google Scholar
- Yildirim M, Fischer H, Marx R, Edelhoff D: In vivo fracture resistance of implant-supported all-ceramic restorations. J Prosthet Dent 2003, 90(4):325–331. 10.1016/S0022-3913(03)00514-6View ArticleGoogle Scholar
- Roos‒Jansåker AM, Lindahl C, Renvert H, Renvert S: Nine‒to fourteen‒year follow‒up of implant treatment. Part II: presence of peri‒implant lesions. J Clin Periodontol 2006, 33(4):290–295. 10.1111/j.1600-051X.2006.00906.xView ArticleGoogle Scholar
- Schwartz-Arad D, Laviv A, Levin L: Failure causes, timing, and cluster behavior: an 8-year study of dental implants. Implant Dent 2008, 17(2):200–207. 10.1097/ID.0b013e3181777906View ArticleGoogle Scholar
- Rocchietta I, Nisand D: A review assessing the quality of reporting of risk factor research in implant dentistry using smoking, diabetes and periodontitis and implant loss as an outcome: critical aspects in design and outcome assessment. J Clin Periodontol 2012, 39(s12):114–121.View ArticleGoogle Scholar
- Romeo E, Storelli S: Systematic review of the survival rate and the biological, technical, and aesthetic complications of fixed dental prostheses with cantilevers on implants reported in longitudinal studies with a mean of 5 years follow-up. Clin Oral Implants Res 2012, 23(s6):39–49.View ArticleGoogle Scholar
- Isidor F: Influence of forces on peri-implant bone. Clin Oral Implants Res 2006, 17(S2):8–18. 10.1111/j.1600-0501.2006.01360.xView ArticleGoogle Scholar
- Huang HL, Chang YY, Lin DJ, Li YF, Chen KT, Hsu JT: Initial stability and bone strain evaluation of the immediately loaded dental implant: an in vitro model study. Clin Oral Implants Res 2011, 22(7):691–698. 10.1111/j.1600-0501.2010.01983.xView ArticleGoogle Scholar
- Hsu JT, Fuh LJ, Tu MG, Li YF, Chen KT, Huang HL: The effects of cortical bone thickness and trabecular bone strength on noninvasive measures of the implant primary stability using synthetic bone models. Clin Implant Dent Relat Res 2011.Google Scholar
- Sunden Piknér S, Gröndahl K: Radiographic analyses of “advanced” marginal bone loss around Brånemark dental implants. Clin Implant Dent Relat Res 2009, 11(2):120–133. 10.1111/j.1708-8208.2008.00098.xView ArticleGoogle Scholar
- Rocci A, Martignoni M, Gottlow J: Immediate Loading in the Maxilla Using Flapless Surgery, Implants Placed in Predetermined Positions, and Prefabricated Provisional Restorations: A Retrospective 3‒Year Clinical Study. Clin Implant Dent Relat Res 2003, 5: 29–36.View ArticleGoogle Scholar
- Hermann F, Lerner H, Palti A: Factors influencing the preservation of the periimplant marginal bone. Implant Dent 2007, 16(2):165–175. 10.1097/ID.0b013e318065aa81View ArticleGoogle Scholar
- Kerstein RB, Radke J: A comparison of fabrication precision and mechanical reliability of 2 zirconia implant abutments. Int J Oral Maxillofac Implants 2008, 23(6):1029–1036.Google Scholar
- Ferrario V, Sforza C, Serrao G, Dellavia C, Tartaglia G: Single tooth bite forces in healthy young adults. J Oral Rehabil 2004, 31(1):18–22. 10.1046/j.0305-182X.2003.01179.xView ArticleGoogle Scholar
- Kiliaridis S, Kjellberg H, Wenneberg B, Engström C: The relationship between maximal bite force, bite force endurance, and facial morphology during growth: A cross-sectional study. Acta Odontol Scand 1993, 51(5):323–331. 10.3109/00016359309040583View ArticleGoogle Scholar
- Calderon PS, Kogawa EM, Corpas LS, Lauris JRP, Conti PCR: The influence of gender and bruxism on human minimum interdental threshold ability. J Appl Oral Sci 2009, 17(3):224–228. 10.1590/S1678-77572009000300018View ArticleGoogle Scholar
- Att W, Kurun S, Gerds T, Strub JR: Fracture resistance of single-tooth implant-supported all-ceramic restorations: an in vitro study. J Prosthet Dent 2006, 95(2):111–116. 10.1016/j.prosdent.2005.12.003View ArticleGoogle Scholar
- Kohal RJ, Klaus G, Strub JR: Zirconia-implant-supported all-ceramic crowns withstand long-term load: a pilot investigation. Clin Oral Implants Res 2006, 17(5):565–571. 10.1111/j.1600-0501.2006.01252.xView ArticleGoogle Scholar
- Nothdurft FP, Doppler KE, Erdelt KJ, Knauber AW, Pospiech PR: Fracture behavior of straight or angulated zirconia implant abutments supporting anterior single crowns. Clin Oral Investig 2011, 15(2):157–163. 10.1007/s00784-009-0377-yView ArticleGoogle Scholar
- Boggan RS, Strong JT, Misch CE, Bidez MW: Influence of hex geometry and prosthetic table width on static and fatigue strength of dental implants. J Prosthet Dent 1999, 82(4):436–440. 10.1016/S0022-3913(99)70030-2View ArticleGoogle Scholar
This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.