According to its design concept, a resinbonded prosthesis, compared with the conventional fixed partial denture, is a weak and unstable structure. Therefore, a resin-bonded prosthesis induces a higher failure rate, especially in the posterior region. Recently, adhesion agents have been profoundly improved. However, the design guidelines of posterior resin-bonded prostheses (RBP) have seldom been evaluated from a biomechanical perspective. The objective of this study was to investigate the biomechanical effects of the retainer thickness on posterior RBP using the finite element method. A solid model of a posterior mandibular resin-bonded prosthesis, which employed the second molar and second premolar as the abutment teeth, was constructed and meshed with various retainer thickness (ranging from 0.2 to 1.0 mm). Horizontal and vertical loadings of 200 N were applied respectively at the central fossa of the pontic to examine the stress level at the interface between the retainer and abutment teeth. All exterior nodes in the root, below the cementoenamel junction were fixed as the boundary condition. The results showed that horizontal loading would induce higher interfacial stresses than the vertical loading which indicated that the horizontal component of the occlusal force plays a more important role in evaluating the debonding phenomenon. Further, the peak interfacial stresses increased as the retainer thickness decreased and, based on the fitted relation between retainer thickness and interfacial stresses, a 0.4 mm retainer thickness was suggested as the minimum required to prevent severe interfacial stresses increasing.
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