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J Dent. 2004 May;32(4):321-6.

Influence of curing modes on crosslink density in polymer structures.

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Department of Restorative Dentistry, Faculty of Dentistry, National University of Singapore, 5 Lower Kent Ridge Road, Singapore, Singapore 119074.



This study investigates the influence of curing modes on the crosslinking density of dental composites.


A light-cure unit (BISCO VIP) that allowed for independent command over time and intensity was selected. Four different light-curing modes with constant light energy density were investigated (control (C), pulse delay (PD), soft-start (SS) and pulse cure (PC)). The degree of crosslinking was assessed directly by measuring the glass transition temperature of 1 mm thick composite (Z100, 3M-ESPE) specimens using differential scanning calorimetry (DSC 2920). Polymer softening in ethanol was used as an indirect method for assessing the degree of crosslinking. After light-curing, specimens were stored in air at 37 degrees C for 24 h and subjected to hardness testing using a digital microhardness tester (n = 6, load=500 g; dwell time=15 s). The specimens were then placed in 75% ethanol-water solution at 37 degrees C for 24 h and post-conditioning hardness was determined. Mean hardness (KHN)/hardness deterioration (DeltaKHN) was computed and data was subjected to analysis using one-way ANOVA/Scheffe's test.


Ranking of degree of crosslinking density by DSC was as follows: C>PC>SS>PD. For the indirect method of determining crosslinking density, DeltaKHN ranged from 10.8 to 12.9 and ranking was PC>SS>C>PD.


Specimens polymerized with PD were significantly more susceptible to softening in ethanol than specimens cured with PC. Results of this study suggest that polymerization with PD resulted in a lower crosslink density and gave rise to polymers with an increased susceptibility to softening in ethanol.

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