The purpose of this study was to determine the influence of finishing and polishing methods on surface properties of bulk-fill resin composites through surface roughness (Ra) and surface free energy (SFE) measurements, and scanning electron microscopy (SEM) observations. Three bulk-fill resin composites, Tetric EvoCeram Bulk Fill (TB), Filtek Bulk Fill (FB), and Filtek Bulk Fill Flowable Restorative (FF), and two conventional resin composites, Clearfil AP-X (AP) and Estelite ∑ Quick (EQ) were used. Seventy cured specimens of each resin composite were prepared and divided into seven groups of 10 specimens. Ra, SFE measurements, and SEM observations were conducted after finishing and polishing procedures. Three groups of specimens were finished with a fine grit diamond bur (FDB), and three with a tungsten carbide bur (CBB). After finishing, one group from each type of finishing was polished with aluminum oxide flexible disks (SSD) and one group from each type of finishing was polished with diamond particles embedded in a silicone point (CMP). A baseline group of samples that were neither finished nor polished after removing the translucent strips from the surface was examined. Although the baseline group showed significantly lower Ra values than the other groups, most resin composites showed lower Ra values with CBB+SSD than with the other finishing and polishing groups. Among the tested resin composites, EQ showed significantly lower Ra values than the other resin composites, regardless of the finishing and polishing methods. On the other hand, AP showed significantly higher Ra values than the other resin composites in all finishing and polishing groups, apart from FB with FDB. For the finished specimens, most resin composites showed higher SFE values with CBB than with FDB. For the polished specimens, all the tested resin composites with CMP showed lower γS values than those with SSD, regardless of the finishing method. The baseline groups of TB and FB showed significantly lower SFE values than the other finished and polished groups. In the SEM observations, all the examined resin composites showed rougher surfaces after finishing with FDB than with CBB. However, when comparing the different polishing methods (CMP and SSD), surface smoothness appeared to be material dependent.

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