To analyze the effect of using the resin-based composite manufacturer’s recommended exposure time on the degree of conversion (DC), Knoop hardness (KH), and elastic modulus (E) of conventional and bulk-fill resin-based composites (RBCs).
Three resin-based composites (RBCs) were tested: Tetric EvoCeram Bulk Fill (TET), Opus Bulk Fill APS (OPU), and RBC Vittra APS (VIT). They were photo-activated in 2 mm deep, 6 mm diameter molds for their recommended exposure times of 10 seconds, 20 seconds, or 40 seconds from four light-curing units (LCUs). Two delivered a single emission peak in the blue light region (Optilight Max and Radii-Cal) and two delivered multiple emission peaks in the violet and blue region (VALO Cordless and Bluephase G2). After 24 hours of dry storage at 37°C in the dark, the KH (Kgf/mm2), E (MPa) and DC (%) at the top and bottom surfaces of specimens (n=5) were measured and the results analyzed by 2-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) followed by a Tukey test (α=0.05).
The irradiance (mW/cm2) and spectral irradiance (mW/cm2/nm) from the LCUs were reduced significantly (8–35%) after passing through 2.0 mm of RBC (p<0.001). The DC at the bottom of VIT and TET was less than at the top surface (p<0.001). OPU had the same DC at the top and bottom surface (p=0.341). The KH and E values at the top surface of VIT and TET were substantially higher than at the bottom (p<0.001). OPU exposed for 40 seconds achieved higher mechanical properties than TET that was photo-activated for 10 seconds (p<0.001). The opacity of different bulk-fill RBCs changed differently during the polymerization; OPU became more opaque, whereas TET became more transparent. When exposed for their recommended times, the 2 mm thick RBCs that used Ivocerin or the APS photoinitiator system were adequately photo-activated using either the single or multiple emission peak LCUs (p=0.341).
After 24 hours’ storage, all the 2 mm thick RBCs photo-cured in 6 mm diameter molds achieved a bottom-to-top hardness ratio of at least 80% when their recommended exposure times were used. TET, when photo-activated for 10 seconds, achieved lower mechanical properties than OPU that had been photo-activated for 40 seconds. The change in opacity of the RBCs was different during photo-activation.