Tooth deformation patterns in molars after composite restoration

Daranee Tantbirojn, Antheunis Versluis, Maria R. Pintado, Ralph DeLong, William H. Douglas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

123 Scopus citations


Objective. Residual stresses from polymerization shrinkage in composite restorations deform a tooth. This may cause debonding, enamel crack propagation, and post-operative sensitivity. Deformation due to shrinkage has been measured previously at a few discrete points. The purpose of this study was to analyze cuspal deformation pattern of the occlusal portion of molars for various cavity types and sizes after restoration with a light-initiated composite. Methods. Five extracted human molars were successively prepared as Class I, Class II OM, large Class II OM, and large Class II MOD. The cavities were filled with a light-curing composite using a dentin adhesive system. The occlusal portion of the unrestored cavity and the restoration were digitized with a profilometer. The digitized data of the unrestored and restored tooth were used to calculate the cuspal contour change with Cumulus software. Deformation was visualized as a color contour map. Results. Cuspal deformation showed up in the contour map as a reduction of buccal and lingual contour perpendicular to the surface. Large Class II MODs exhibited the highest cuspal deformation, followed by large OM restorations. Cuspal deformations in Class I and small Class II OM restorations were not significantly different. Significance. When a composite restoration was cured, the surrounding tooth deformed due to polymerization shrinkage. Cavity type and size affected how much cusps moved inward as a result of polymerization shrinkage. This study quantified and visualized the pattern of cuspal deformation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)535-542
Number of pages8
JournalDental Materials
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jul 1 2004


  • Composite restoration
  • Cusp flexure
  • Deformation
  • Polymerization shrinkage
  • Shrinkage stress

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