Intracoronal stress transfer through enamel following RBC photopolymerisation: A synchrotron X-ray study

Maisoon Al-Jawad, Owen Addison*, Slobodan Sirovica, Samera Siddiqui, Richard A. Martin, David J. Wood, David C. Watts

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: To measure the spatial distribution of crystallographic strain in tooth enamel induced by the photo-polymerisation of a dimethacrylate resin based composite cavity restoration. Methods: Six sound first premolar teeth, allocated into two groups (n = 3), were prepared with mesio-occlusal distal cavities. The enamel was machined at the point of maximum convexity on the outer tooth to create a vertical fin of thickness 100 μm and 0.5 mm depth to allow for synchrotron X-ray diffraction measurements. 2D diffraction patterns were used to determine crystallite orientation and quantify changes in the hydroxyapatite crystal lattice parameters, before and after photo-polymerisation of a composite material placed in the cavity, to calculate strain in the respective axis. The composite was photo-polymerised with either relatively high (1200 mW cm−2, group 1) or low (480 mW cm−2, group 2) irradiances using LED or quartz halogen light sources, respectively. A paired t-test was used to determine significant differences in strain between irradiance protocols at ɑ = 0.001. Results: Photo-polymerisation of the composite in the adjacent cavity induced significant changes in both the crystallographic c and a axes of the enamel measurement area. However the magnitude of strain was low with ∼0.1% difference before and after composite photo-polymerisation. Strain in enamel was not uniformly distributed and varied spatially as a function of crystallite orientation. Increased alignment of crystallites perpendicular to the cavity wall was associated with higher c axis strain. Additionally, strain was significantly greater in the c (p < 0.001) and a axis (p < 0.001) when using a high irradiance photo-polymerisation protocol. Significance: Although cuspal deflection is routinely measured to indirectly assess the ‘global’ effect of composite shrinkage on the tooth-restoration complex, here we show that absolute strains generated in enamel are low, indicating strain relief mechanisms may be operative. The use of low irradiance protocols for photo-polymerisation resulted in reduced strain.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1426-1439
JournalDental Materials
Issue number10
Early online date14 Aug 2018
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2018

Bibliographical note

© 2018, Elsevier. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International


  • Enamel
  • Photo-polymerisation
  • Resin based composite
  • Shrinkage
  • Strain
  • Stress
  • Synchrotron X-ray micro-focussed diffraction


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