Light transmission through dental materials and tooth structure has direct clinical implication on such factors as selecting an appropriate curing technique during a restorative process.
This study aims to quantify and compare the amount of light that passes through seven different types of direct and indirect restorative materials comprising light-cured resin based composites (regular and bulk-fill), computer-aided design/computer-aided manufacturing (CAD/CAM) restoratives such as resin based composites, poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA) resin, leucite glass-ceramic, lithium silicate glass-ceramic, feldspar ceramic, and the natural tooth structure.
Individual sets (n=6) of plane-parallel test specimens (2 mm) of 32 restorative materials belonging to the aforementioned seven material types and the tooth structure were prepared. Within the analyzed materials, one leucite glass-ceramic and one lithium disilicate glass-ceramic were considered in two different translucencies. In addition, two light-cured resin composites, one CAD/CAM resin composite, and one lithium disilicate glass-ceramic were considered in two different shades. Optical properties (transmittance, T; absorbance, A; and opacity, O) of each material were calculated from the relationship between incident and transmitted irradiance [I(d)] using a violet-blue light-curing unit. Incident and transmitted irradiance were assessed in real time on a spectrophotometer. A multivariate analysis (general linear model) assessed the effects of various parameters on the optical properties.
A very strong influence of the parameter material was identified on I(d) (p<0.001; partial eta squared, ηP2=0.953), T (p<0.001; ηP2=0.951), A (p<0.001; ηP2=0.925), and O (p<0.001; ηP2=0.886), while the effect of the parameter material type was not significant (p=0.079, p=0.05, p=0.05, and p=0.051, respectively). Light attenuation differed significantly by material within each shade category and by shade category within the analyzed material.
Attenuation of light through restorative materials and tooth structure is high (59.9% to 94.9%); thus, deficits in polymerization are difficult to compensate for by additional light exposure at the end of the restorative process.