OBJECTIVE: To investigate the influence of time delay and duration of photo-activation on subsurface microhardness of a dual-cured resin composite.
MATERIAL AND METHODS: A commercially available dual-cured core build-up resin composite (Rebilda DC) was filled in cavities (diameter: 4.0 mm; height: 6.0 mm) of polystyrene molds and light-cured for 20 or 60 s either immediately after the filling procedure (time delay 0 s) or after a time delay of 30, 90, 180 or 300 s. Non-irradiated self-cured specimens served as a control group (n = 15). Specimens were stored in complete darkness and at 100% relative humidity at 37°C for 2 weeks and cross-sectioned. Knoop Hardness Numbers (KHNs) were measured six times per depth and averaged at distances of 0.25, 0.50, 1.00, 2.00, 3.50 and 5.50 mm from the light-exposed surface. Data were statistically analyzed using one- and two-way ANOVA followed by Scheffé's post-hoc test at a level of significance of 0.05.
RESULTS: Mean hardness values in all experimental groups ranged between 54.3 ± 2.1 and 58.1 ± 2.3 KHN. Light-curing did not significantly increase composite KHN at any depth measured. Delaying light exposure had no influence on KHN, irrespective of depth. A longer light-exposure time (60 versus 20 s) resulted in significantly higher KHN only at depths of 3.50 and 5.50 mm.
CONCLUSION: Photo-activation of the tested dual-cured resin composite provided no clinically relevant benefit compared to self-curing regarding the degree of hardening.