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Year : 2014  |  Volume : 25  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 381-385
Abrasion resistance of direct and indirect resins as a function of a sealant veneer

1 Department of Restorative Dentistry, Paulo State University UNESP, São José dos Campos, Brazil
2 Restorative Dentistry, São Paulo State University UNESP, São José dos Campos, Brazil
3 Dental Materials and Prosthodontics, Paulo State University UNESP, São José dos Campos, Brazil

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Date of Submission30-Nov-2009
Date of Decision14-May-2010
Date of Acceptance28-Aug-2010
Date of Web Publication7-Aug-2014


Background: Abrasive wear is one of the most common type of wear that not only affect teeth, as also dental restorations. Thus to investigate one of the etiological factors as tooth brushing procedure is clinical relevant in order to select the best material combination that may prevent damage of resin dental restoration's abrasion.
Aims: This study evaluated the influence of tooth brushing on mass loss and surface roughness of direct Venus (Vs) and indirect Signum (Sg) resin composites, with and without a surface sealant, Fortify (F).
Materials and Methods: Twenty-four specimens were prepared with each resin composite, using their proprietary curing units, according to manufacturer's instructions. All the specimens were polished and ultrasonically cleaned in distilled water for 5 minutes. Half of the specimens of each resin (n = 12) were covered with F (Vs F and Sg F ), except for the control (C) specimens (Vs C and Sg C ), which were not sealed. Mass loss (ML) as well as surface roughness (Ra ) was measured for all the specimens. Then, the specimens were subjected to toothbrush-dentifrice abrasion, using a testing machine for 67.000 brushing strokes, in an abrasive slurry. After brushing simulation, the specimens were removed from the holder, rinsed thoroughly and blot dried with soft absorbent paper. The abrasion of the material was quantitatively determined with final measurements of ML and surface roughness, using the method described above.
Results: ML data were analyzed by two-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) and the analysis indicated that resin composites were not statistically different; however, the specimens sealed with F showed higher ML. Ra mean values of the groups Vs F and Sg F significantly increased.
Conclusion: Tooth brushing affects mainly the roughness of the direct and indirect resin composites veneered with a sealant.

Keywords: Brushing abrasion, composite resins, sealant

How to cite this article:
Ferraz Caneppele TM, Rocha DM, Máximo Araujo MA, Valera MC, Salazar Marocho SM. Abrasion resistance of direct and indirect resins as a function of a sealant veneer. Indian J Dent Res 2014;25:381-5

How to cite this URL:
Ferraz Caneppele TM, Rocha DM, Máximo Araujo MA, Valera MC, Salazar Marocho SM. Abrasion resistance of direct and indirect resins as a function of a sealant veneer. Indian J Dent Res [serial online] 2014 [cited 2023 May 30];25:381-5. Available from:
Since the early 1960s, resin composites have been used as esthetic materials in dentistry. Although the mechanical properties have been improved over time, some aspects such as wear, brightness changes and surface staining of the composite resins still face problems that must be considered. [1]

The direct technique often is used in esthetic restorations because it is inexpensive and less treatment sessions are required. [2] The indirect technique represents some advantages in comparison with the direct technique; these include reduction of the shrinkage stress, chance of obtaining a thick layer of luting cement, [3] maintenance of the adhesive interface and improvement of bond strength, [4] finishing and polishing, [5] with improvements in the marginal adaptation. [6],[7],[8] Polymerization shrinkage stress of resin composite materials may cause mainly postoperative sensitivity, and microleakage at the composite-tooth interface, [5] and such events may lead to failure of the system.

Restorations that are smooth, uniform, and highly polished are more esthetic and can be more easily kept in function than restorations with rougher surfaces. This results in longer lasting restorations and satisfied patients. [6] Several studies have indicated that critical threshold surface roughness (R a ) of resin composites for biofilm accumulation ranged from 0.7 to 1.44 μm. However, it is difficult to obtain uniform, well-finished and polished surfaces. [9],[10],[11]

In spite of the resin matrix (TEGDMA/BisGMA) being similar for all types of composite resins, the inorganic fillers differ in size, hardness and weight percentage. The higher the weight percentage, the greater is the amount of fillings in the composite resin, resulting in a highly viscous material.

Polishing is the reduction of roughness and scratches created by the finishing instruments. [12],[13] The organic matrix and the filling particles of composite resins are not polished to the same degree, mainly due to their different hardness. Microscopic irregularities, such as small air bubbles, are formed on the surface due to removal of the resin matrix and displacement of filling particles during the finishing and polishing. Therefore, the matrix and filling particles have an important role in the final smoothness of the resin. Advances in dental materials stimulate laboratorial and clinical researches, and provide numerous advantages in combination with the development of new techniques. [9] Thus, a composite surface sealant has been introduced to the dental market in order to overcome resin composite problems, to maintain surface smoothness, [14],[15] to seal microflaws such as pores and cracks, often produced by the polishing procedure [9],[11] and to improve wear resistance.

The mechanical degradation that a dental material undergoes in the oral cavity is mainly described from the different types of wear. Clinical wear process can be classified as material- and patient-dependent and comprises different wear mechanisms. The most common mechanism is the abrasive wear. Clinical data and studies in vitro have identified tooth brushing with toothpaste as the main agent in dental abrasion, [10],[14],[15],[16],[17],[18],[19],[20],[21],[22],[23] and it affects the structure of the restored and un-restored tooth modifying their characteristics and properties, [10],[24] e.g., loss of mass [15],[25],[26],[27] and volume, [14],[28] surface roughness, [15],[20],[29],[30] topography [14] and color.

Considering that dental materials must last and perform well under the different situations in the oral cavity, e.g. tooth brushing, the aim of this study is to evaluate the abrasion resistance of direct and indirect resin composites, sealed and not sealed with a surface sealant, testing the hypothesis that the sealant influences on the loss mass and roughness of these resin composites.

   Materials and methods Top

Both an indirect composite resin and a direct composite resin and a surface sealant were used in this study. The details of all the materials are given in [Table 1].

Twenty-four specimens were prepared with each resin composite, according to the manufacturer's instructions and the ISO 4049 standards. A metallic matrix (5 mm in diameter and 2 mm deep) was used to produce the specimens. Venus (Vs; Heraeus Kulzer, Hanau, Germany) was applied in one increment into the matrix, covered with a polyester strip to provide a smooth and flat surface, and light-cured through a strip at the top and bottom for 40 seconds with the curing unit Ultralux Eletronic (Dabi Atlante, Ribeirão Preto, Brazil). The curing light output was periodically monitored with a radiometer (Spirith Health, 3K model) and ranged from 500 to 550 mW/cm 2 .

All specimens were polished, both at the top and the bottom, with Sof-Lex Pop-on disks (3M ESPE , St. Paul, Minneapolis, USA), according to manufacturer's recommendations, followed by a decreasing sequence of abrasiveness, with each disk being used for 20 seconds, and ultrasonically cleaned in distilled water for 5 minutes. After the finishing and polishing procedures, half of the specimens of each resin (n = 12) were covered with a specific surface sealant F (Fortify, Bisco, Lombard, Illinois, USA) [Vs F and Sg F (Sg: Signum, Heraeus Kulzer, Hanau, Germany)], except for the control specimens (Vs C and Sg C ), which were not sealed.

Then, a 37% phosphoric acid solution (3M ESPE) was applied for 20 seconds onto the surface of the specimens Vs F and Sg F . The surface was then rinsed with running water for 30 seconds and dried with compressed air. A thin layer of F was applied with a micro-brush, lightly thinned with compressed air, and light-cured for 20 seconds according to the manufacturer's recommendations. Prior to simulated tooth brushing, mass loss (ML) as well as surface roughness was measured for all the specimens. Additionally, vickers microhardness (FM 700: Future Tech Corp., Tokyo, Japan) of the control specimens was assessed before the tooth brushing (50 g over 15 seconds). For every specimen, three measurements were undertaken. An analytical balance (Bel Engeneering, Monza, Italy) was used to measure the masses of the specimens.

Baseline surface roughness measurements (R a in μm) of the polished specimens was evaluated in a roughness tester (Surface Roughness Tester SJ 400, Mitutoyo Corporation, São Paulo, Brazil). Three measurements were taken and the average was obtained with λc (meter cut-off) set for a distance of 3.2 mm.

After ML tests and roughness reading, all the specimens were fixed in the holder of the machine, and subjected to toothbrush-dentifrice abrasion using a testing machine (Johnson and Johnson, São José dos Campos, Brazil) at a vertical load of 200 g during horizontal movements of the toothbrushes. Specimens were submitted and brushed to 67.000 brushing strokes, which according to several authors is equivalent to 6 months of clinical use, [31],[32],[33] in an abrasive slurry. Toothbrushes with medium bristle stiffness (Reach ® Essential, Johnson and Johnson - batch 0708C) were used and renewed after 33.000 brushing strokes.

The abrasive slurry was prepared by mixing 100 ml distilled water with 50 g dentifrice (Colgate-Palmolive, São Bernardo do Campo, Brazil - batch 8260BR12B) and renewed after 33.000 brushing strokes as well. After brushing simulation, the specimens were removed from the holder, rinsed thoroughly and blot dried with soft absorbent paper, and the abrasion of the material was quantitatively determined with final measurements of ML and surface roughness, using the method described above.

   Results Top

The microhardness (HV) mean values and standard deviation of Sg was 60.28 (5.73) and for Vs it was 31.63 (7.25). The statistical analysis using the Student's t-test indicated statistically significant differences among the composite resins (P ≤ 0.05).

ML due to wear was calculated as the difference between the mass of each specimen before and after brushing. Data of ML (mg) were analyzed using two-way analysis of variance (ANOVA). Significant influence of the use of sealant (P < 0.0001) was observed [Table 2].
Table 1: Description of the selected materials according to manufacturer's data

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Table 2: Two-way analysis of variance of ML

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There was an increase of microhardness assessed with Vickers scale, loss of mass, which was higher after application of a sealant than without it, and greater surface roughness, which was noticed regardless of the material type, after application of sealant. After the application of the sealant, a higher increase of roughness was noted for indirect material (Sg) from over 1.5 R a for (SgF) to about 2.0 R a [Figure 1]. Results of the mean values of roughness parameters (R a ) before and after tooth brushing of the composites resins, with and without sealant, were analyzed statistically by Student's t-test at 5% significance level as shown in [Table 3]. Statistically significant differences in the roughness results were observed among the composite resins with or without sealant, before and after the tooth brushing simulation. R a mean values of the groups Vs F and Sg F significantly increased [Figure 1].
Figure 1: Graphical representation of roughness mean values, before and after tooth brushing simulation of VsF, SgF, VsC, and SgC

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Table 3: Mean values of roughness parameter (Ra) of the study groups, before and after tooth brushing simulation

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   Discussion Top

This study showed that microhardness of Sg resin was significantly different from that of the direct resin, Vs. A previous study [34] demonstrated there is a positive correlation among the filler particles' volume and the values of microhardness of the resin composites. Nevertheless, according to the manufacturer's information, the indirect resin contains filling particles per unit volume slightly more than the direct resin, which explains the differences in microhardness values between the composite resins.

The final quality of the resin composites can be influenced by factors such as light-curing method, exposure time, [35],[36] radiation energy, [36] distance of the light source to the object, [35] and others. In this study, the composites were light-cured according to manufacturer's instructions. Since Sg is indicated for indirect use, it enables an additional cure into a HeraFlash unit (Heraeus Kulzer, Hanau, Germany). Thus, after the conventional light-cure, Sg specimens were subjected to a final cure in the mentioned device, which may explain the improvement in microhardness values. Soares et al, [37] observed an improvement in microhardness when composites were subjected to complementary methods of polymerization. Vs and Sg showed significantly different microhardness values; no significant differences were found at ML when the sealant surface was not applied, which indicates no wear of the study materials after a restricted time of tooth brushing simulation (6 months).

In accordance with our results, Harrison and Draughn [38] did not find a relationship between the microhardness and wear of composite resins and concluded that the abrasion is a complex phenomenon and materials with high values of hardness or tensile strength are not necessarily more wear resistant. On the other hand, Mayworm et al., [39] observed that abrasive wear is inversely proportional to the material hardness and reported a lower degree of wear of materials with smaller filler particles, due to the reduced interparticle spacing in the resin matrix. The presence of filler particles in the matrix resin, even though in small quantities, significantly increases the wear resistance of these materials. [40] Also, wear resistance due to the resin depends on the strength of polymer links, with cross linking providing improved wear resistance to the material. The groups of specimens sealed showed higher ML under tooth brushing conditions, which may be related to the absence of filler particles in the sealant composition, which confers less wear resistance because the matrix is softer and less wear resistant than the inorganic filler, and preferentially abraded. So far, it does not indicate that the material was not able to fill the structural microflaws formed during the early finishing and polishing procedures.

Despite the fact that the method for surface roughness assessment used in this research was also employed sometime ago, it is still being used to evaluate many dental materials including dental tissue as enamel, because it is easy to be used, practical, and gives reliable results. [13],[41],[42],[43],[44],[45]

As mentioned in our results, the tooth brushing simulation also generated statistical differences between roughness (R a ) results of the sealed and unsealed groups, which is consistent with previous studies. [46],[47] Yet, the surface roughness mean values [Table 3] of all groups, except for Vs C , are comparable to those values (0.7-1.44 μm) that favor biofilm accumulation of the resin composite surface. [9],[10],[11]

The significant increase of the average values of R a after the application of sealant and tooth brushing simulation can be justified by the geometry of the abrasive dentifrice and load applied during the process of tooth brushing. The difference in baseline surface roughness readings was likely due to inherent differences between the two composites. The filler particle size and load have the potential to influence the surface characteristics of a resin composite. Resin composites that contain larger filler particles are expected to have higher R a values after any abrasive procedure such as tooth brushing. Since the direct resin composite used in this study contains barium glass fillers with an average size of 0.7 μm, characterized by a very narrow particle size distribution, the R a value results were lower than those of the indirect resin composite.

The effectiveness of sealants in improving the smoothness of composites is still controversial. [48] We believe that roughness values increased after application of sealant because the acid etching may decrease the surface energy of the resin surface, making the flowing of the sealant on it difficult. Also, manufacturer's guidelines do not include using any air-inhibited layer after the application of the sealant, and this may be other reason why a rougher surface of the sealant was obtained. The larger size and low volume fraction of fillers increase the interparticle spacing in resin composites and may promote the removal of these filler particles. As the polymer matrix wears down, it exposes the filler particles, allowing them to be plucked from the surrounding matrix during the abrasion test.

The surface sealant is a transparent colored resin material which would not influence on the esthetic appearance of the restoration; however, it produced a rough surface after tooth brushing simulation. The smoothness of the sealed resin was modified, and an opaque surface was observed after tooth brushing, which might have been caused by the abrasion procedure or by the wear of the sealer and exposure of the acid etching surfaces of the resin composites before the composite resin sealer application.

Thus, the use of an unfilled surface sealer did not show better roughness results than that shown by resin composites unaided. Further investigation focusing on the ability of the sealant to penetrate and flow into enamel-resin or dentin-resin interfacial microgaps formed in the margins of resin composite restorations, is needed.

   Conclusion Top

In spite of this, the sealant is used as an agent to fill the flaws that persist even after polishing, to improve marginal integrity, and to enhance abrasion resistance in dental composites. Keeping in view the limitations of this study, the results indicated that composite surface sealers mainly affected the roughness of the direct and indirect resin composites when used in flat surfaces.

   References Top

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Correspondence Address:
Susana María Salazar Marocho
Dental Materials and Prosthodontics, Paulo State University UNESP, São José dos Campos
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0970-9290.138345

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  [Table 1], [Table 2], [Table 3]

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