Clinical Relevance

Bulk-fill materials show a similar or better performance than control flowable materials regarding interfacial integrity. However, some self-adhesive composites need improvements to achieve competitive performance.


Objective: This laboratory study compared the polymerization stress and gap formation of self-adhesive, bulk-fill and control flowable composites. The degree of conversion (DC) and post-gel shrinkage were also assessed.

Methods: Two self-adhesive (Vertise Flow and Fusio Liquid Dentin), two bulk-fill (Tetric N-Flow Bulk-Fill and Filtek Bulk-Fill Flowable Restorative), and two control flowable (Z350 XT Flowable Restorative and Tetric N-Flow) composites were evaluated. Polymerization stress (PS) was determined in a universal testing machine (n=5). Gap formation was evaluated by scanning electron microscopy in class I restorations (n=6). DC was measured by Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (n=3). Post-gel volumetric shrinkage (VS) was measured using the strain gauge method (n=5). Data were submitted to one-way analysis of variance or a Kruskal-Wallis test (α=0.05).

Results: Vertise Flow and Fusio Liquid Dentin presented the highest interfacial gap (27%±5% and 21%±6%, respectively), which was associated with their highest PS (4.1±0.8 MPa and 3.5±0.6 MPa, respectively) and DC (63%±2% and 60%±2%, respectively) in spite of the lowest VS (1.0%±0.2% and 1.0%±0.3%, respectively). Tetric N-Flow Bulk-Fill and Filtek Bulk-Fill Flowable Restorative presented similar PS (2.9± 0.3 MPa and 2.4±0.2 MPa, respectively) to both control materials. However, the Tetric N-Flow Bulk-Fill showed the lowest gap (7%±2%) and the highest DC (64.3%±0.4%), and the Filtek Bulk-fill presented a marginal gap (17.8%±3.4%) and a DC (54.5%±2.7%) similar to the control materials. The VS values of both bulk-fill materials were similar to those of Tetric N-Flow and lower than that of Z350 XT Flowable Restorative.

Conclusions: Bulk-fill composites showed either similar or significantly lower interfacial gaps and PS than the control flowable composites. The self-adhesive composites showed a significantly higher gap percentage and PS than the control and bulk-fill materials.

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