Structural and mechanical properties of a giomer-based bulk fill restorative in different curing conditions
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The main goal of this study was to compare the polymerization degree of bulk-fill giomer resin cured with three different light-curing units (LCUs): a polywave third-generation (Valo); a monowave (DemiUltra: DU); and a second-generation LED (Optima 10: Opt) LCUs by using structural and mechanical properties. Giomer samples of 2 and 4 mm cured with three LCUs were employed in vitro analysis. The degree of curing (DC%) was determined with Fourier-Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR). Microstructural features were observed with scanning electron microscopy (SEM). Flexural strength (FS), compression strength (CS), elastic modulus and fracturing strain were determined for mechanical properties. Surface microhardness (SMH) values were also measured. Oneway ANOVA, two-way analysis of variance and Tukey multiple comparison tests were used for statistically analyzing the FS and SMH. DC% values were 58.2, 47.6, and 39.7 for the 2 mm samples cured with DU, Opt., and Valo LCUs, respectively. DC% values of the 4 mm samples were 50.4, 44.6, and 38.2 for DU, Opt, and Valo, respectively. SMH values were Valo, Opt<DU at top of the samples; Valo<DU, Opt at 2 mm, and DU, Valo<Opt at 4 mm depth. Giomer samples cured with Opt and DU exhibited higher FS values than Valo. CS values were similar but compressive modulus and fracturing strain (%) varied depending on the curing protocol. Based on the results, it can be concluded that curing device and protocol strongly affect crosslinking reactions and thus DC%, SMH, compressive modulus and strain at break values. Consequently, it can be deduced that curing protocol is possibly the most important parameter for microstructure formation of highly-filled composite restoratives because it may bring some structural defects and physical frailties on restorations due to lower degree of polymerization.