SciELO - Scientific Electronic Library Online

 
vol.31 suppl.1Dental ceramics: a review of new materials and processing methodsRandomized clinical trials of dental bleaching – Compliance with the CONSORT Statement: a systematic review author indexsubject indexarticles search
Home Pagealphabetic serial listing  

Services on Demand

Journal

Article

Indicators

Related links

Share


Brazilian Oral Research

On-line version ISSN 1807-3107

Braz. oral res. vol.31  supl.1 São Paulo Aug. 2017  Epub Aug 28, 2017

http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/1807-3107bor-2017.vol31.0059 

Critical Review

Efficiency of polymerization of bulk-fill composite resins: a systematic review

André Figueiredo REIS(a) 

Mariana VESTPHAL(a) 

Roberto Cesar do AMARAL(b) 

José Augusto RODRIGUES(a) 

Jean-François ROULET(c) 

Marina Guimarães ROSCOE(a) 

(a)Universidade de Guarulhos – UNG, Dental Research and Graduate Studies Division, Department of Restorative Dentistry, Guarulhos, SP, Brazil.

(b)Universidade do Oeste de Santa Catarina – Unoesc, Joacaba, SC, Brazil.

(c)University of Florida, College of Dentistry, Department of Restorative Dental Sciences, Gainesville, FL, United States of America.

Abstract

This systematic review assessed the literature to evaluate the efficiency of polymerization of bulk-fill composite resins at 4 mm restoration depth. PubMed, Cochrane, Scopus and Web of Science databases were searched with no restrictions on year, publication status, or article’s language. Selection criteria included studies that evaluated bulk-fill composite resin when inserted in a minimum thickness of 4 mm, followed by curing according to the manufacturers’ instructions; presented sound statistical data; and comparison with a control group and/or a reference measurement of quality of polymerization. The evidence level was evaluated by qualitative scoring system and classified as high-, moderate- and low- evidence level. A total of 534 articles were retrieved in the initial search. After the review process, only 10 full-text articles met the inclusion criteria. Most articles included (80%) were classified as high evidence level. Among several techniques, microhardness was the most frequently method performed by the studies included in this systematic review. Irrespective to the “in vitro” method performed, bulk fill RBCs were partially likely to fulfill the important requirement regarding properly curing in 4 mm of cavity depth measured by depth of cure and / or degree of conversion. In general, low viscosities BFCs performed better regarding polymerization efficiency compared to the high viscosities BFCs.

Key words: Composite resins; Polymerization; Curing lights, Dental; Dentistry

Introduction

It is well known that resin based composites (RBCs) require a dry field, critical steps for enamel and dentin etching, priming, and bonding, and the maximum incremental thickness has historically been 2 mm. Still, restoring deeper preparations with 2-mm increments is time consuming and relatively technique sensitive.1 The rationale behind the incremental filling technique is to guarantee the penetration of the curing light deeply enough to initiate and complete curing RBCs,2 besides the minimization of the shrinkage and shrinkage-induced stress associated with polymerization of RBCs. Nevertheless, recently, manufacturers have introduced resin-based bulk-fill composites (BFCs), and it has been claimed that they can fill cavities up to 4–6 mm at once.3,4,5,6

Several bulk-fill composite materials are currently on the market, including low- and high-viscosity formulations (Table 1). Each BFC adopt different strategies for achieving high light transmission and flowability. A sufficient depth of cure may be achieved by using specific polymerization modulators, by improving the translucency, or by using more potent initiator systems.7 Generally, low-viscosity BFCs present low filler content to increase flowability. However, some materials present high filler content, but achieve flowability through sonic activation (SonicFill).

Table 1 Materials under investigation (information as disclosed by the manufacturers). 

Bulk Fill Composites Viscosities Maximum depht Time / Irradiance
EverX Posterior (GC) Regular 4 mm 9-sec / Plasma arc (2000 mW/cm2); 10-sec / High Power LED Light (>1200 mW/cm2); 20-sec / Halogen - Normal LED Light (700 mW/cm2)
Filtek Bulk Fill (3M ESPE) Regular 5 mm 20-sec / (>1000 mW/cm2)
Filtek Bulk Fill Flowable (3M ESPE) Flow 4 mm 20-sec (>1000 mW/cm2)
QuiXX Fill (DENTSPLY) Flow 4 mm 20-sec / (500-800 mW/cm2); 10-sec / (>800mW/cm2)
SonicFill (KERR) Regular 5 mm 20-sec (>1000mW/cm2)
SureFil SDR (DENTSPLY) Flow 4 mm 20-sec (U) or 40-sec (A1/A2/A3) / (>1000mW/cm2)
Tetric EvoCeram Bulk Fill (IVOCLAR) Regular 4 mm 20-sec / (>500mW/cm2); 10-sec / (>1000mW/cm2)
Venus Bulk Fill (HERAEUS KULZER) Regular 4 mm 20-sec / (>1000mW/cm2)
XTra Base (VOCO) Flow 4 mm 10-sec / (> 1000mW/cm2)
XTra Fill (VOCO) Regular 4 mm 10-sec / (> 1000mW/cm2)

Although bulk-filling technique increases light path length into the deep subsurface and resin volume by the increased cavity depth,8 manufacturers of BFCs state that materials present greater depth of cure and lower polymerization induced shrinkage stress than conventional RBCs.9 Low shrinkage stress can be reached through the inclusion of stress reliever (e.g. Tetric N-Ceram Bulk Fill, Tetric N-Flow Bulk Fill, Tetric EvoCeram Bulk Fill), polymerization modulator (e.g. SureFil SDR), or their own not disclosed ways to lessen high possible stress induced by the massive filling.10,11 Still, regarding mechanical properties of the resin, it has been stated that the reduced filler content of BFCs for achieving high light transmission can weaken their mechanical properties compared with conventional RBCs.12,13

For a clinician to confidently change from using a traditional incremental filling technique to the bulk-filling method, credible clinical trials and laboratory studies comparing characteristics of the polymerization reaction at restoration depths that simulate the clinical scenario should be performed.14 In order to assess the maximal increment thickness of resin composites that guarantee efficient polymerization, researchers have referred to depth of cure (DOC)15,16,17 and degree of conversion (DC) measurements.18,19 Current literature already provides DOC and DC data for several restorative bulk-fill materials.15,16,17,18,20,21,22,23 Therefore, the aim of this systematic review was to assess the scientific literature that evaluated the efficiency of polymerization of bulk-fill composite resins by assessing DOC and DC to answer the clinical question: can Bulk-fill resin composites be placed and cured properly in 4 mm increments?

Methodology

This systematic review was performed according to the Cochrane Oral Health Group’s Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions (http://ohg.cochrane.org), and was registered with the number CRD42016047754 in the PROSPERO database (http://www.crd.york.ac.uk/PROSPERO). A computerized systematic search was performed in 4 electronic databases: PubMed, Cochrane, Scopus and ScienceDirect. For all the databases, the following search sequence of key words was selected: [“polymerization” AND “composite resins” AND (“bulk fill” OR “bulk-fill”)]. No restrictions were placed on year, publication status, or language of the articles. The search was performed on September the 14th, 2016. Additional relevant studies published after this date were also included, although no formal searching was conducted after September 2016.

In the first step of the screening process, titles and abstracts were used to identify full articles as being relevant (or potentially relevant) that evaluated the efficiency of polymerization of bulk-fill composite resins by performing mechanical tests. The ones that evaluated physical properties related to efficiency of polymerization by thermal analysis were not considered relevant for this systematic review.

In the second step of the screening process, these full articles were subjected to inclusion and exclusion criteria. The inclusion criteria required studies in which the bulk-fill composite was used with a minimum thickness of 4 mm and cured following the manufacturers’ instructions (regarding time and irradiance), the statistical data (such as the sample size, mean, and standard deviation) were provided in the results section, and a control group was used; such as comparison with a conventional composite resin, or a reference measurement of quality of polymerization (comparison between the polymerization data obtained at the top and at the bottom of the sample). The exclusion criteria were: case reports, case series, reviews, systematic reviews, opinions of experts, and reports provided by the manufacturing companies.

All studies identified by applying the inclusion and exclusion criteria underwent for validity assessment and data extraction by two reviewers (M.G.R and J.A.R) that independently examined the studies. The reviewers extracted data independently, using specifically designed data-extraction forms. For each included study, qualitative and quantitative information was extracted, including authors, year of publication, experimental and control group, type of bulk-fill composite resin (viscosity), number of samples per group, method of outcome assessment (mechanical test performed), polymerization protocol (time and irradiance), storage (time, temperature, and medium), authors’ conclusions, and all information needed for methodological quality evaluation. Any disagreement was discussed to reach a common final decision. In case further clarifications were deemed necessary, the authors of the related papers were contacted by email.

Posteriorly, the two reviewers scored the remained articles, in order to analyze the study design and the methodological reliability, based on the mechanical test performed and on the degree of technical information available. Some scoring systems already published24,25,26 were used as a starting point to develop the present methodological scoring system as shown in Table 2.

Table 2 Methodological scoring system. 

Criteria assessed Score
I. Study design (Maximum score = 11 points)
A. Control group Conventional resin based composite: 1 point
Bottom:Top ratio: 2 points
Both groups: 3 points
B. Sample size Number of evaluated sample per experimental group (n):
n < 5: 1 point
5 ≤ n ≤ 10: 2 points
n > 10: 3 points
C. Experimental groups High and low viscosities: 2 points
High viscosity: 1 point
Low viscosity: 1 point
D. Mechanical testing Scraping ISO 4049 Method or Acetone Shake Test: 1 point
FTIR, mRaman, Microhardness: 2 points
If 2 or more methods were combined: 3 points
II. Methodological soundness (Maximum score = 8 points)
A. Light curing protocol If clearly described time, power density and LCU: 3 points (1 point each)
B. Aging evaluation If clearly describe time, temperature and medium of storage: 2 points
C. Post-cure time evaluation Immediate or less than 24 hours post-cure: 1 point
24 hours post-cure: 2 points
more than 24-hours / cycling: 3 points

Concerning study design, different scores were given if the study compared the bulk-fill results with a conventional composite resin (control group) and/or based on hardness measurements on the top and the bottom surface of light-cured resin composite specimens (a bottom-to-top hardness ratio of 0.80 has been widely used as a criterion for adequate degree of cure). The sample size, and the mechanical testing performed to evaluate the efficiency of polymerization, based on the degree of conversion (DC) and/or the depth of cure (DOC), were also considered. Many laboratory methods have been used to determine these mechanical properties, such as Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy, Raman spectroscopy, Microhardness (Vickers and Knoop), Scraping Method ISO 4049, and Acetone Shaking Test. Studies that performed the Scraping Method ISO 4049 were evaluated with less points compared to the ones that performed the others available methods, since it has been shown that the former method overestimate depth of cure values.16,27,28,29

With respect to methodological soundness, the description of the light curing protocol (time, irradiance, and light-curing unit used to specimens’ photoactivation) was evaluated, since a strong relationship exists between the light curing protocol and the mechanical properties of the composite resin.30 In addition, the presence and the description of an aging evaluation (time, medium and temperature) were also considered. Timing of testing is also variable and represents an important factor to be taken into account in scientific investigations of bulk-fill composites, since the DC changes over time and, therefore, differences in ‘‘post-cure’’ time introduce variability that might affect comparability of results reported in different studies.21,31,32

The methodological quality scores were reported as a percentage of the maximum achievable score (19 points): mean score (mS) < 60 percent = low level of evidence; 60 percent ≤ mS ≤ 70 percent = moderate level of evidence; mS > 70 percent = high level of evidence.25,26

Results

The database search revealed 534 articles: 169 articles listed in PubMed, 12 articles listed in Cochrane, 58 articles listed in Scopus, and 295 articles listed in Web of Science. Using the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) flow diagram,33 an overview of the article selection process is illustrated (Figure). After exclusion of 187 duplicate articles, 347 articles remained. In the first step of the screening process, 271 articles were excluded, since they did not evaluate efficiency of polymerization of bulk-fill composite resins by performing mechanical tests.

Figure Flow diagram with an overview of the article-selection process. 

In the second step of the screening process, the remaining 76 full-text articles were assessed: 10 articles were excluded after the application of the exclusion criteria, and 56 articles were excluded, as they did not meet the inclusion criteria (Figure). Exceeding of the time recommended by the manufacturers was the most common methodology flaw found when the inclusion criteria were applied. Thus, the selection process resulted in 10 full-text articles.3,10,16,18,34,35,36,37,38,39

A summary of the main findings of each study addressed in this systematic review and the data regarding authors, year of publication, type of bulk-fill composite resin (viscosity), method of outcome assessment (mechanical test performed), light curing protocol (time, irradiance, and light-curing unit), and authors’ conclusions regarding the clinical question “can Bulk-fill resin composites be placed and cured properly in 4 mm increments?” is presented in Table 3.

Table 3 Main findings and data of the studies addressed in the systematic review. 

Study Bulk- fill composites Viscosities Mechanical test Light curing protocol Post-cure time evaluation Can BFCs be placed and cured properly in 4 mm increments?
Benetti et al., 2015 3 Tetric EvoCeram Bulk Fill, SonicFill, x-tra base, Venus Bulk Fill, and SureFil SDR High and low Scrapping Method ISO 4049 20-sec; 950 ± 50 mW/cm 2 ; LED LCU Immediate PARTIALLY. With a mean depth of cure of 3.43 mm, SonicFill failed to comply the value stated by the manufacturer (up to 5-mm increments). Tetric EvoCeram Bulk Fill also showed a depth of cure slightly lower (3.82 mm) than the value advertised by its manufacturer (4 mm). However, the other investigated low-viscosity bulk-fill resin composites (SDR, Venus Bulk Fill, and x-tra base), demonstrated higher and sufficient depth of cure at more than 4 mm (4.34, 5.57, and 5.68, respectively).
Czasch and Ilie, 2013 18 SureFil SDR, and Venus Bulk Fill Low FTIR and Microhardness 10-, 20-, and 40-sec; 1,226 mW/cm 2 ; LED LCU (Elipar Freelight) Microhardness (24 hours) YES. Both RBCs may be placed in 4 mm bulks without a loss in mechanical properties or degree of cure. A polymerization time of 20 seconds and bulk placement up to 4 mm can be recommended.
Flury et al., 2012 16 SureFil SDR, Venus Bulk Fill, QuiXX Fill, Tetric EvoCeram Bulk Fill High and low Scrapping Method ISO 4049 and Microhardness 10- and 20- sec, 1000 mW/cm 2 , LED LCU (Demi) Immediate PARTIALLY. The Scrapping Method showed that only Tetric EvoCeram Bulk Fill (light-cured for 10-sec according to the manufacturer indication) did not meet the ISO requirement (DOC = 3.32 mm). The percentage of VHN max attained at the depth D ISO was assessed and expressed as p ISO . Whereas p ISO was above 80% for one of the control materials (Filtek Silorane), p ISO was much lower particularly for the bulk fill materials, which showed in the median a p ISO of only 40%, reflecting the different forms of the VHN profiles.
Garcia et al., 2014 34 SureFil SDR, Venus Bulk Fill, and SonicFill High and low Scrapping Method ISO 4049 and Microhardness 20- sec, 800 mW/cm 2 , LED LCU (SmartLite iQ2) Microhardness (24 hours) PARTIALLY. The Scrapping Method showed that only SonicFill could not be cured properly in 4 mm (DOC = 3.46 mm), while both Venus Bulk Fill and SureFil SDR flow demonstrated full depth of cure at 5 mm.
Regarding microhardness values, all bottom:top ratio values for the materials evaluated in this study were less than the 80% critical value for depth of cure.
Ilie et al., 2013 10 Tetric EvoCeram Bulk Fill and x-tra base High FTIR and Microhardness 10-, 20-, and 40-sec; 1.703 mW/cm 2 (0 mm distance) and 500 mW/cm 2 (7 mm distance from the particular mould); LED LCU (Elipar Freelight2) Microhardness (24 hours) YES. The results of the study proved that both analyzed bulk-fill materials – Tetric EvoCeram Bulk Fill and x-tra base – enable, as described by the manufacturer, at least 4 mm thick increments to be cured in one step under clinically relevant curing conditions.
Lempel et al., 2016 35 SureFil SDR, X-tra Base, Filtek Bulk Fill Low Micro-Raman Spectroscopy 10- (X-tra Base) and 20-sec (Filtek Bulk Fill and SureFil SDR) ; 1100 mW/cm 2 ; LED LCU (LED.C) 24 hours PARTIALLY. SDR showed the highest DC value at the top and bottom surface of the samples and not significant lower %DC compared to 0 mm. X-tra Base and Filtek Bulk Fill presented about 35% lower DC compared to the top.
Miletic et al., 2016 36 Tetric EvoCeram Bulk Fill, SonicFill, SureFil SDR, EverX Posterior, and Filtek Bulk Fill flowable High and low FTIR, Acetone-Shaking Test, and Microhardness 10- and 20-sec; FTIR and Microhardness (24 hours) PARTIALLY. Tetric EvoCeram Bulk, EverX Posterior, and SonicFill, bulk-filled as 4-mm-thick specimens, showed bottom-to-top hardness ratios above 80 % after 20-sec curing. Still, 10-sec curing time was sufficient for flowable bulk-fills (SureFil SDR and Filtek Bulk Fill flowable).
1337 mW/cm 2 ; polywave LED LUC (Bluephase 20i)
Nagi et al., 2015 37 Tetric EvoCeram, and X-traFil High and low Microhardness 10-, 20-, 40-, and 60-sec; ≥ 800 mW/cm 2 ; LED LCU (Elipar S10) 24 hours YES. The bulk-fill resin composites used in this study can be placed and cured properly in the 4 mm bulk. A short curing time 10 seconds was enough to reach VHN (bottom to top) ratio >80 % when both tested bulk fill RBCs are placed in 4 mm bulks.
Pongprueksa et al., 2015 38 Filtek Bulk Fill flowable Low Micro-Raman Spectroscopy 20-sec; Immediate YES. The cure at depth is considered adequate if DC measured at the bottom reaches at least 90% of the maximum DC measured at the top surface. Strictly applying this guideline, an adequate cure at 4-mm depth was achieved by the flowable bulk-fill composite (Filtek Bulk Fill Flowable: 92%).
1100 mW/cm 2 ; polywave LED LUC (Bluephase 20i)
Zorzin et al., 2015 39 Filtek BulkFill, SureFil SDR, TetricEvoCeram BulkFill, Venus BulkFill, and X-traBase High and low FTIR and Microhardness 10-, 20-, and 30-sec; 1200 mW/cm 2 ; polywave LED LUC (Bluephase 20i) 24 hours PARTIALLY. All investigated bulk-fills had sufficient polymerization properties at 4 mm increment thickness in terms of not significant lower %DC compared to 0 mm. Still, when the 80% bottom-top-ratio criterion was applied as a minimum acceptable threshold, all investigated materials, with exception of TBF and FSF in the manufacturers’ light-curing time (TBF 10 s, FSF 20 s at 1200 mW/cm2), showed adequate hardness at 4 mm. At higher radiant exposure (30 s at 1200 mW/cm 2 ) all materials reached at least 80% bottom-top-ratio.

BFCs:– bulk fill composites; LED: light emitting-diode; LCU: light curing unit; FTIR: Fourier transform infrared spectrometer; VHN: Vickers Hardness; DOC:depth of cure; DC: degree of conversion.

None of the studies included were clinical trials. All the articles were published in English, between 2012 and 2016. Methodological quality scores ranged from 47% to 89% of the maximum achievable score, with a mean score of 76,8%. Eight studies were classified as high- (80%), 1 as moderate- (10%), and 1 as low- (10%) evidence level (Tables 4, 5 and 6). It was not possible to perform a meta-analysis because of the heterogeneous methodologies of the selected studies.

Table 4 Quality assessment scores concerning study design: study design (maximum score = 11 points). 

Articles Control group Sample size Experimental groups Mechanical test Score
Benetti et al., 3 2015 1 1 2 1 5
Czasch and Ilie, 18 2013 2 2 1 3 8
Flury et al. 16 , 2012 3 3 2 3 11
Garcia et al., 34 2014 3 2 2 3 10
Ilie et al., 10 2013 2 2 1 3 8
Lempel et al., 35 2016 3 2 2 2 9
Miletic et al., 36 2016 3 2 2 3 10
Nagi et al., 37 2015 2 2 2 2 8
Pongprueksa et al., 38 2015 3 2 1 2 8
Zorzin et al., 39 2015 3 2 2 3 10

Table 5 Quality assessment scores concerning study design: methodological soundness (maximum score = 8 points). 

Articles Light curing protocol Aging evaluation Post-cure time evaluation Score
Benetti et al., 3 2015 3 0 1 4
Czasch and Ilie, 18 2013 3 2 2 7
Flury et al. 16 , 2012 3 0 1 4
Garcia et al., 34 2014 3 2 2 7
Ilie et al., 10 2013 3 2 2 7
Lempel et al., 35 2016 3 0 2 5
Miletic et al., 36 2016 3 2 2 7
Nagi et al., 37 2015 3 2 2 7
Pongprueksa et al., 38 2015 3 0 1 4
Zorzin et al., 39 2015 3 2 2 7

Table 6 Quality assessment scores concerning study design: classification of the evidence level (maximum score = 19 points). 

Articles Study design Methodological soundness % Score Classification
Benetti et al., 3 2015 5 4 47% Low
Czasch and Ilie, 18 2013 8 7 79% High
Flury et al. 16 , 2012 11 4 79% High
Garcia et al., 34 2014 10 7 89% High
Ilie et al., 10 2013 8 7 79% High
Lempel et al., 35 2016 9 5 74% High
Miletic et al., 36 2016 10 7 89% High
Nagi et al., 37 2015 8 7 79% High
Pongprueksa et al., 38 2015 8 4 63% Moderate
Zorzin et al., 39 2015 10 7 89% High

Many laboratory methods have been used to determine the efficiency of polymerization of restorative materials, based on the degree of conversion and depth of cure. The present systematic review included studies that degree of conversion and/ or depth of cure were assessed by Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy,10,18,36,39 Micro-Raman spectroscopy,35,38 Scraping Method ISO 4049,3,16,34 Acetone Shaking Test,36 and Microhardness.10,16,18,34,36,37,39 Irrespective to the “in vitro” method performed, bulk fill RBCs were partially likely to fulfill the important requirement regarding properly curing in 4 mm of cavity depth measured by depth of cure and / or degree of conversion.

Discussion

In the last 5 years, numerous articles have been performed to investigate polymerization of resin-based bulk-fill composites. Despite the massive literature addressing this topic, only 10 studies were considered appropriate for inclusion in this systematic review. Based on the selection criteria, in vivo studies were not considered relevant, since they did not report the parameters necessary to be included. A significant number of the excluded in vitro studies did not perform the curing protocol according to the manufactures’ instructions (regarding time and irradiance), by exceeding the recommended time, which was the most common flaw detected. Laboratory studies should simulate as faithful as possible the clinical scenario, and clinicians undoubtedly simplify the restorative procedure aiming to save clinical time and, therefore, normally do not perform polymerization of restorations exceeding the time recommended by the manufacturers. Based on this scenario, these studies were not considered relevant to be included in this systematic review. A meta-analysis could not be made because of the heterogeneity of the study designs and methodologies.

The current literature already evidenced that several parameters may affect the degree of polymerization of bulk fill RBCs such as their composition (photoinitiators, fillers and organic matrix),40 the technical characteristics of the light-curing unit (light intensity, thermal emission, wave length range, diameter of the tip) and the conditions of photo-polymerization (curing mode and exposure time),41 the post-irradiation period,42 the temperature,43,44 and the incremental thickness of the material.45 Therefore, the articles were scored in order to analyze the study design and the methodological reliability, based on the mechanical test performed and on the degree of technical information available. Relative to the methodological quality assessment, most studies included in this systematic review (80%) were classified as high evidence level.

Among several techniques, microhardness was the most frequently method performed by the studies included in this systematic review. Seventy percent of them used this method,10,16,18,34,36,37,39 being in 60% combined with another methodology (such as FTIR, Acetone-Shaking Test, or Scrapping Method ISO 4049). Measuring the hardness has been already proved to be the best indicator of the extent of polymerization of the RBC.46 It has been used as an indirect method to assess the depth of cure with a value of 80% of hardness at the top surface considered as the borderline between sufficient and insufficient curing.16,23,29,46,47 Although the methods based on vibrational spectroscopy are considered more accurate because they directly quantify the amount of unreacted C=C bonds,48 when the network is crosslinked, FTIR is less sensitive than hardness assessment in detecting small changes in the degree of conversion.46 The degree of conversion of resin composites is widely evaluated indirectly by surface hardness measurements; both Vickers or Knoop indenters can give a reliable determination.49

Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy has been traditionally used for degree of conversion assessment and it was performed in 4 studies included in this systematic review.10,18,36,39 Raman spectroscopy provides an alternative method that can be considered simpler and more adaptive than FTIR50 and it was performed in 2 studies included in this systematic review.35,38 While FTIR spectroscopy measures the absorption of incident radiation, Raman is based on the inelastic scattering phenomenon. In contrast to FTIR, mRaman does not require specific specimen preparation and allows a non-destructive analysis, which enables multiple measurements on the same sample.50

The Scraping Method ISO 4049 for bulk-fill composites has been researched and its suitability has been recently criticized for providing overestimation of the depth of cure values in comparison with Vickers hardness profiles.16,27,29 In addition, the procedure of scraping off the uncured resin-based material has been considered difficult to standardize.51 Still, this systematic review included 3 articles that used the Scrapping Method to evaluate depth of cure of bulk-fill composites3,16,34 and, when performed in combination with hardness test, it was also verified overestimated values of the depth of cure in comparison with the hardness profiles.16,34

One study included in the present review performed the Acetone Shake Method to measure depth of cure.36 This method involves physical removal of the unreacted monomers and has been performed to evaluate DOC by some researchers.52,53,54 After curing, the resin composite specimen is placed into a hermetically sealed capsule containing 99.9 per cent pure acetone. The vibration of the capsule on a mixing device removed the uncured material in a reproducible manner,52 leaving the polymerized portion undamaged.

Bulk fill RBCs were partially likely to fulfill the important requirement regarding properly curing in 4 mm of cavity depth measured by depth of cure and / or degree of conversion. In six studies, this statement was partially accepted,3,16,34,35,36,39 and it is important to emphasize that the requirement was partially accepted because of the behavior of the regular viscosity BFC evaluated. In the remaining 4 studies included in the present systematic review this statement was completely accepted.10,18,37,38 The results presented in this systematic review are exclusively based on “in vitro” studies. Still, in recent randomized controlled trials, bulk-fill technique showed highly clinical effectiveness, which was comparable with the conventional incremental technique during 5-year evaluation period.55,56,57

Although several issues may affect the polymerization efficiency of bulk fill composite resins, the composition and filler loading of the BFCs seem to be the most important factors. The variability on the conclusion of the authors was mainly dependent on the bulk fill composite resin evaluated, and, in general, the low-viscosity BFCs performed better regarding polymerization efficiency (with only 2 studies demonstrating bottom:top ratio values less than the 80% critical value for depth of cure16,34) compared to the high-viscosity BFCs.

Conclusions

High level of evidence is available to study the polymerization efficiency of bulk fill composites. BFCs were partially likely to fulfill the important requirement regarding being properly cured in 4 mm of cavity depth measured by depth of cure and / or degree of conversion. In general, low-viscosity BFCs performed better regarding polymerization efficiency compared to the high-viscosity BFCs, since only 2 studies that evaluated low viscosity BFCs demonstrated bottom:top ratio values less than the 80% critical value for depth of cure.

References

1. Hamlin NJ, Bailey C, Motyka NC, Vandewalle KS. Effect of tooth-structure thickness on light attenuation and depth of cure. Oper Dent. 2016;41(2):200-7. https://doi.org/10.2341/15-067-LLinks ]

2. Sakaguchi RL, Douglas WH, Peters MC. Curing light performance and polymerization of composite restorative materials. J Dent. 1992;20(3):183-8. https://doi.org/10.1016/0300-5712(92)90136-ZLinks ]

3. Benetti AR, Havndrup-Pedersen C, Honoré D, Pedersen MK, Pallesen U. Bulk-fill resin composites: polymerization contraction, depth of cure, and gap formation. Oper Dent. 2015;40(2):190-200. https://doi.org/10.2341/13-324-LLinks ]

4. Ilie N, Stark K. Effect of different curing protocols on the mechanical properties of low-viscosity bulk-fill composites. Clin Oral Investig. 2015;19(2):271-9. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00784-014-1262-xLinks ]

5. Van Ende A, De Munck J, Van Landuyt KL, Poitevin A, Peumans M, Van Meerbeek B. Bulk-filling of high C-factor posterior cavities: effect on adhesion to cavity-bottom dentin. Dent Mater. 2013;29(3):269-77. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.dental.2012.11.002Links ]

6. Ilie N, Stark K. Curing behaviour of high-viscosity bulk-fill composites. J Dent. 2014;42(8):977-85. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jdent.2014.05.012Links ]

7. Bucuta S, Ilie N. Light transmittance and micro-mechanical properties of bulk fill vs. conventional resin based composites. Clin Oral Investig. 2014;18(8):1991-2000. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00784-013-1177-yLinks ]

8. Son SA, Park JK, Seo DG, Ko CC, Kwon YH. How light attenuation and filler content affect the microhardness and polymerization shrinkage and translucency of bulk-fill composites? Clin Oral Investig. 2017;21(2):559-65. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00784-016-1920-2Links ]

9. Garoushi S, Vallittu P, Shinya A, Lassila L. Influence of increment thickness on light transmission, degree of conversion and micro hardness of bulk fill composites. Odontology. 2016;104(3):291-7. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10266-015-0227-0Links ]

10. Ilie N, Bucuta S, Draenert M. Bulk-fill resin-based composites: an in vitro assessment of their mechanical performance. Oper Dent. 2013;38(6):618-25. https://doi.org/10.2341/12-395-LLinks ]

11. Moszner N, Fischer UK, Ganster B, Liska R, Rheinberger V. Benzoyl germanium derivatives as novel visible light photoinitiators for dental materials. Dent Mater. 2008;24(7):901-7. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.dental.2007.11.004Links ]

12. Rosatto CM, Bicalho AA, Veríssimo C, Bragança GF, Rodrigues MP, Tantbirojn D et al. Mechanical properties, shrinkage stress, cuspal strain and fracture resistance of molars restored with bulk-fill composites and incremental filling technique. J Dent. 2015;43(12):1519-28. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jdent.2015.09.007Links ]

13. Leprince JG, Palin WM, Vanacker J, Sabbagh J, Devaux J, Leloup G. Physico-mechanical characteristics of commercially available bulk-fill composites. J Dent. 2014;42(8):993-1000. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jdent.2014.05.009Links ]

14. Marovic D, Tauböck TT, Attin T, Panduric V, Tarle Z. Monomer conversion and shrinkage force kinetics of low-viscosity bulk-fill resin composites. Acta Odontol Scand. 2015;73(6):474-80. https://doi.org/10.3109/00016357.2014.992810Links ]

15. Garoushi S, Säilynoja E, Vallittu PK, Lassila L. Physical properties and depth of cure of a new short fiber reinforced composite. Dent Mater. 2013;29(8):835-41. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.dental.2013.04.016Links ]

16. Flury S, Hayoz S, Peutzfeldt A, Hüsler J, Lussi A. Depth of cure of resin composites: is the ISO 4049 method suitable for bulk fill materials? Dent Mater. 2012;28(5):521-8. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.dental.2012.02.002Links ]

17. Kusgoz A, Ülker M, Yesilyurt C, Yoldas OH, Ozil M, Tanriver M. Silorane-based composite: depth of cure, surface hardness, degree of conversion, and cervical microleakage in Class II cavities. J Esthet Restor Dent. 2011 Oct;23(5):324-35. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1708-8240.2011.00411.xLinks ]

18. Czasch P, Ilie N. In vitro comparison of mechanical properties and degree of cure of bulk fill composites. Clin Oral Investig. 2013 Jan;17(1):227-35. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00784-012-0702-8Links ]

19. Leprince JG, Palin WM, Hadis MA, Devaux J, Leloup G. Progress in dimethacrylate-based dental composite technology and curing efficiency. Dent Mater. 2013;29(2):139-56. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.dental.2012.11.005Links ]

20. Finan L, Palin WM, Moskwa N, McGinley EL, Fleming GJ. The influence of irradiation potential on the degree of conversion and mechanical properties of two bulk-fill flowable RBC base materials. Dent Mater. 2013;29(8):906-12. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.dental.2013.05.008Links ]

21. Alshali RZ, Silikas N, Satterthwaite JD. Degree of conversion of bulk-fill compared to conventional resin-composites at two time intervals. Dent Mater. 2013;29(9):e213-7. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.dental.2013.05.011Links ]

22. Yamasaki LC, Moraes AGV, Barros M, Lewis S, Francci C, Stansbury JW et al. Polymerization development of “low-shrink” resin composites: Reaction kinetics, polymerization stress and quality of network. Dent Mater. 2013;29(9):e169-79. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.dental.2013.04.021Links ]

23. El-Damanhoury H, Platt J. Polymerization shrinkage stress kinetics and related properties of bulk-fill resin composites. Oper Dent. 2014;39(4):374-82. https://doi.org/10.2341/13-017-LLinks ]

24. Afrand M, Ling CP, Khosrotehrani S, Flores-Mir C, Lagravère-Vich MO. Anterior cranial-base time-related changes: A systematic review. Am J Orthod Dentofacial Orthop. 2014;146(1):21-32.e6. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ajodo.2014.03.019Links ]

25. Vlijmen OJ, Kuijpers MA, Bergé SJ, Schols JG, Maal TJ, Breuning H et al. Evidence supporting the use of cone-beam computed tomography in orthodontics. J Am Dent Assoc. 2012;143(3):241-52. https://doi.org/10.14219/jada.archive.2012.0148Links ]

26. Roscoe MG, Meira JB, Cattaneo PM. Association of orthodontic force system and root resorption: a systematic review. Am J Orthod Dentofacial Orthop. 2015;147(5):610-26. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ajodo.2014.12.026Links ]

27. DeWald JP, Ferracane JL. A comparison of four modes of evaluating depth of cure of light-activated composites. J Dent Res. 1987;66(3):727-30. https://doi.org/10.1177/00220345870660030401Links ]

28. Moore BK, Platt JA, Borges G, Chu TM, Katsilieri I. Depth of cure of dental resin composites: ISO 4049 depth and microhardness of types of materials and shades. Oper Dent. 2008;33(4):408-12. https://doi.org/10.2341/07-104Links ]

29. Price RB, Felix CA, Andreou P. Knoop hardness of ten resin composites irradiated with high-power LED and quartz-tungsten-halogen lights. Biomaterials. 2005;26(15):2631-41. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biomaterials.2004.06.050Links ]

30. Dewaele M, Asmussen E, Peutzfeldt A, Munksgaard EC, Benetti AR, Finné G et al. Influence of curing protocol on selected properties of light-curing polymers: degree of conversion, volume contraction, elastic modulus, and glass transition temperature. Dent Mater. 2009;25(12):1576-84. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.dental.2009.08.001Links ]

31. Feng L, Suh BI. A mechanism on why slower polymerization of a dental composite produces lower contraction stress. J Biomed Mater Res B Appl Biomater. 2006;78(1):63-9. https://doi.org/10.1002/jbm.b.30453Links ]

32. Schneider LF, Consani S, Ogliari F, Correr AB, Sobrinho LC, Sinhoreti MA. Effect of time and polymerization cycle on the degree of conversion of a resin composite. Oper Dent. 2006;31(4):489-95. https://doi.org/10.2341/05-81Links ]

33. Moher D, Liberati A, Tetzlaff J, Altman DG. Preferred reporting items for systematic reviews and meta-analyses: the PRISMA statement. Ann Intern Med. 2009;151(4):264-9. [ Links ]

34. Garcia D, Yaman P, Dennison J, Neiva G. Polymerization shrinkage and depth of cure of bulk fill flowable composite resins. Oper Dent. 2014;39(4):441-8. https://doi.org/10.2341/12-484-LLinks ]

35. Lempel E, Czibulya Z, Kovács B, Szalma J, Tóth Á, Kunsági-Máté S, Varga Z, Böddi K. Degree of conversion and BisGMA, TEGDMA, UDMA eution from flowable bulk fill composites. Int J Mol Sci. 2016;20;17(5). https://do.org/10.3390/ijms17050732Links ]

36. Miletic V, Pongprueksa P, De Munck J, Brooks NR, Van Meerbeek B. Curing characteristics of flowable and sculptable bulk-fill composites. Clin Oral Investig. 2017;21(4):1201-12. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00784-016-1894-0Links ]

37. Nagi SM, Moharam LM, Zaazou MH. Effect of resin thickness, and curing time on the micro-hardness of bulk-fill resin composites. J Clin Exp Dent. 2015;7(5):e600-4. https://doi.org/10.4317/jced.52536Links ]

38. Pongprueksa P, De Munck J, Duca RC, Poels K, Covaci A, Hoet P et al. Monomer elution in relation to degree of conversion for different types of composite. Dent. 2015;43(12):1448-55. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jdent.2015.10.013Links ]

39. Zorzin J, Maier E, Harre S, Fey T, Belli R, Lohbauer U et al. Bulk-fill resin composites: polymerization properties and extended light curing. Dent Mater. 2015;31(3):293-301. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.dental.2014.12.010Links ]

40. Amirouche-Korichi A, Mouzali M, Watts DC. Effects of monomer ratios and highly radiopaque fillers on degree of conversion and shrinkage-strain of dental resin composites. Dent Mater. 2009;25(11):1411-8. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.dental.2009.06.009Links ]

41. Torno V, Soares P, Martin JM, Mazur RF, Souza EM, Vieira S. Effects of irradiance, wavelength, and thermal emission of different light curing units on the Knoop and Vickers hardness of a composite resin. J Biomed Mater Res B Appl Biomater. 2008;85(1):166-71. https://doi.org/10.1002/jbm.b.30929Links ]

42. Alshali RZ, Salim NA, Satterthwaite JD, Silikas N. Post-irradiation hardness development, chemical softening, and thermal stability of bulk-fill and conventional resin-composites. J Dent. 2015;43(2):209-18. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jdent.2014.12.004Links ]

43. Dionysopoulos D, Papadopoulos C, Koliniotou-Koumpia E. Effect of temperature, curing time, and filler composition on surface microhardness of composite resins. J Conserv Dent. 2015;18(2):114-8. https://doi.org/10.4103/0972-0707.153071Links ]

44. Par M, Gamulin O, Marovic D, Klaric E, Tarle Z. Effect of temperature on post-cure polymerization of bulk-fill composites. J Dent. 2014;42(10):1255-60. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jdent.2014.08.004Links ]

45. Flury S, Peutzfeldt A, Lussi A. Influence of increment thickness on microhardness and dentin bond strength of bulk fill resin composites. Dent Mater. 2014;30(10):1104-12. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.dental.2014.07.001Links ]

46. Rueggeberg FA, Craig RG. Correlation of parameters used to estimate monomer conversion in a light-cured composite. J Dent Res. 1988;67(6):932-7. https://doi.org/10.1177/00220345880670060801Links ]

47. Alrahlah A, Silikas N, Watts DC. Post-cure depth of cure of bulk fill dental resin-composites. Dent Mater. 2014;30(2):149-54. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.dental.2013.10.011Links ]

48. Shin WS, Li XF, Schwartz B, Wunder SL, Baran GR. Determination of the degree of cure of dental resins using Raman and FT-Raman spectroscopy. Dent Mater. 1993;9(5):317-24. https://doi.org/10.1016/0109-5641(93)90050-ZLinks ]

49. Rueggeberg FA, Ergle JW, Mettenburg DJ. Polymerization depths of contemporary light-curing units using microhardness. J Esthet Dent. 2000;12(6):340-9. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1708-8240.2000.tb00243.xLinks ]

50. Pianelli C, Devaux J, Bebelman S, Leloup G. The micro-Raman spectroscopy, a useful tool to determine the degree of conversion of light-activated composite resins. J Biomed Mater Res. 1999;48(5):675-81. https://doi.org/10.1002/(SICI)1097-4636(1999)48:5<675::AID-JBM11>3.0.CO;2-PLinks ]

51. Leprince JG, Leveque P, Nysten B, Gallez B, Devaux J, Leloup G. New insight into the “depth of cure” of dimethacrylate-based dental composites.Dent Mater. 2012;28(5):512-20. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.dental.2011.12.004Links ]

52. Kleverlaan CJ, Gee AJ. Curing efficiency and heat generation of various resin composites cured with high-intensity halogen lights. Eur J Oral Sci. 2004;112(1):84-8. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.0909-8836.2004.00101.xLinks ]

53. Corciolani G, Vichi A, Davidson CL, Ferrari M. The influence of tip geometry and distance on light-curing efficacy. Oper Dent. 2008;33(3):325-31. https://doi.org/10.2341/07-94Links ]

54. Vichi A, Carrabba M, Goracci C, Ferrari M. Extent of cement polymerization along dowel space as a function of the interaction between adhesive and cement in fiber post cementation. J Adhes Dent. 2012;14(1):51-7. https://doi.org/10.3290/j.jad.a21849Links ]

55. Dijken JW, Pallesen U. A randomized controlled three year evaluation of “bulk-filled” posterior resin restorations based on stress decreasing resin technology. Dent Mater. 2014;30(9):e245-51. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.dental.2014.05.028Links ]

56. Dijken JW, Pallesen U. Randomized 3-year clinical evaluation of Class I and II posterior resin restorations placed with a bulk-fill resin composite and a one-step self-etching adhesive. J Adhes Dent. 2015;17(1):81-8. https://doi.org/10.3290/j.jad.a33502Links ]

57. Dijken JW, Pallesen U. Posterior bulk-filled resin composite restorations: A 5-year randomized controlled clinical study. J Dent. 2016;51:29-35. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jdent.2016.05.008Links ]

Received: May 17, 2017; Accepted: May 22, 2017; Revised: May 28, 2017

Corresponding Author: André Figueiredo Reis. E-mail: reisandre@yahoo.com

Declaration of Interests: The authors certify that they have no commercial or associative interest that represents a conflict of interest in connection with the manuscript.

Creative Commons License  This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.