Objectives

To evaluate the effect of the different radiant exposures from a multipeak light curing unit on the physical and mechanical properties of flowable and high-viscosity bulk-fill resin-based composites (RBC).

Methods

Five flowable bulk-fill RBCs (Tetric N-Flow Bulk-fill, Ivoclar Vivadent; Filtek Bulk Fill Flow, 3M Oral Care; Opus Bulk Fill Flow APS, FGM; Admira Fusion x-base, Voco and; and SDR Plus Bulk Fill Flowable, Dentsply Sirona) and five high-viscosity bulk-fill RBCs (Tetric N-Ceram Bulk-fill, Ivoclar Vivadent; Filtek One Bulk Fill, 3M Oral Care; Opus Bulk Fill APS, FGM; Admira Fusion x-tra, Voco; and SonicFill 2, Kerr) were photo-cured using a VALO Cordless light (Ultradent) for 10, 20, and 40 seconds at an irradiance of 1200, 800, or 400 mW/cm2, resulting in the delivery of 4, 8, 12, 16, 24, 32, or 48 J/cm2. Post-gel shrinkage (Shr) was calculated using strain-gauge test. The degree of conversion (DC, %) was calculated using FTIR. Knoop hardness (KH, N/mm2) and elastic modulus (E, MPa) were measured at the top and bottom surfaces. Logarithmic regressions between the radiant exposures and mechanical properties were calculated. Radiodensity was calculated using digital radiographs. Data of Shr and radiodensity were analyzed using two-way analysis of variance (ANOVA), and the DC, KH, and E data were analyzed with two-way ANOVA using split-plot repeated measurement tests followed by the Tukey test (a = 0.05).

Results

Delivering higher radiant exposures produced higher Shr values (p<0.001) and higher DC values (R2=0.808-0.922; R2=0.648-0.914, p<0.001), KH (R2=0.707-0.952; R2=0.738-0.919; p<0.001), and E (R2=0.501-0.925; R2=0.823-0.919; p<0.001) values for the flowable and high-viscosity RBCs respectively. Lower KH, E and Shr were observed for the flowable bulk-fill RBCs. All bulk-fill RBCs had a radiopacity level greater than the 4-mm thick aluminum step wedge. The radiant exposure did not affect the radiopacity.

Conclusion

The Shr, DC, KH, and E values were highly correlated to the radiant exposure delivered to the RBCs. The combination of the higher irradiance for longer exposure time that resulted in radiant exposure between 24 J/cm2 to 48 J/cm2 produced better results than delivering 400 mW/cm2 for 40 s (16 J/cm2), and 800 mW/cm2 for 20 seconds (16 J/cm2) or 1200 mW/cm2 for 10 seconds (12 J/cm2). All the bulk-fill RBCs were sufficiently radiopaque compared to 4 mm of aluminum.

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