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Dent Mater. 1999 Mar;15(2):128-37.

Polymerization shrinkage and elasticity of flowable composites and filled adhesives.

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BIOMAT, Department of Operative Dentistry and Dental Materials, Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium.



The magnitude and kinetics of polymerization shrinkage, together with elastic modulus, may be potential predictors of bond failure of adhesive restorations. This study examined these properties in visible-light-cured resins, in particular new flowable composites and filled adhesives.


Polymerization shrinkage values were obtained by digital video imaging before and after light-curing; shrinkage kinetics were obtained by the "deflecting disk" method and the elastic modulus by analysis of the fundamental period of vibration.


Flowable composites generally showed higher shrinkage than traditional non-flowable composites, while more densely filled adhesives presented lower shrinkage than lightly filled or unfilled resins. The elastic moduli of flowable composites were in the low-medium range, whilst the hybrid composites showed the highest values and the microfilled the lowest. More densely filled adhesives were more rigid than lightly filled and unfilled adhesives. The kinetics behavior was material dependent, mainly characterized by the coefficient of near-linear contraction between 10 and 40% of the final shrinkage and the time to reach 75% of the final shrinkage.


The higher shrinkage of flowable composites over that of hybrids may indicate a potential for higher interfacial stresses. However, their lower rigidity may be a counteracting factor. The microfilled composite showed low shrinkage and low rigidity, a combination that may prove less damaging to the interface. As the kinetics parameters tended to be material specific, no specific class of materials should be seen as more stress inducing until studies determine the relative importance of each examined parameter. The performance of adhesive resins as stress buffers also remains unpredictable.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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