Abstract Objective To evaluate the clinical performance of glass-ceramic/zirconia crowns fabricated using intraoral digital impressions – a retrospective study with a three-year follow-up. Methods 70 consecutive patients with a total of 86 glass-ceramic/zirconia crowns were treated by a single clinician using standardized clinical and laboratory protocols. A complete digital workflow was adopted for the purpose except for the veneering procedure for the glass-ceramic crowns. Occlusal adjustments were made before the ceramic glazing procedure. Before cementation, all abutments where carefully cleaned with a 70% alcoholic solution and air dried. Cementation was performed using dual-curing, self-adhesive resin cement. Patients were re-examined after 12, 24 and 36 months, to assess crown chipping/fractures. Results After the three-year follow-up, none of the zirconia-based restoration was lost (“apparent” survival rate 100%) otherwise, the chipping rate of the veneering material increased from 9.3% after 12 months, to 14% after 24 months to 30.2% after 36 months. As a consequence, the “real” success rate after 3 years was 69.8%. Conclusions After 3 years the success rate of zirconia-based crowns was 69.8%, while the incidence of the chipping was 30.2%. Assuming an exponential increase in chipping rate between 12 and 36 months it can be argued that, among others, the fatigue-mechanism could be advocated as the main factor for the failure of glass-ceramic veneered zirconia especially after 24 months.
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