The present study assessed the polymerization shrinkage stress kinetics of five low-shrinkage light-cured bulk-fill resin composites: Surefil SDR flow (SF, Dentsply), Tetric EvoCeram Bulkfil (TE, Ivoclar Vivadent), Venus Bulk Fill (VB, Heraeus Kulzer), x-tra fil (XF, Voco), and experimental bulk fill (FB, 3M ESPE). Filtek Z250 (FZ, 3M ESPE) was used as a control. Real-time shrinkage stress of investigated composites was measured using a tensometer; maximum shrinkage stress, stress rate (Rmax), and time to reach maximum stress rate (tmax) were recorded. Flexural strength and modulus were measured using a standard procedure, and curing efficiency of 4-mm long specimens was determined using bottom/top percentage Knoop microhardness. Data were analyzed using one-way analysis of variance and Bonferroni multiple range tests at a significance level of α=0.05. Results of shrinkage stress, Rmax, and tmax of all bulk-fill materials were significantly lower (p<0.05) than those of the control except for XF. All tested bulk-fill materials were able to achieve acceptable curing efficiency (≥80% bottom/top percentage) at 4- mm depth. In conclusion, this study reports a significant reduction in polymerization shrinkage stress while maintaining comparable curing efficiency at 4 mm for some bulk-fill composites and supports their potential use in posterior clinical situations.
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