Eliminating guesswork with confidence of composite blending

composite blendingHussein Hassanali presents a case in which he treated a patient with an occlusal filling using a versatile composite with chameleon-like properties.

Treating patients during the COVID-19 pandemic has presented the clinician with many additional considerations. One such challenge is the effort to ensure the patient’s visit to the practice and time spent in the dental chair is used efficiently.

Mastery of reliable materials and techniques is critical. In particular, those helping to take away uncertainty and minimise the risk of repeat visits.

Case study

Figure 1: Preoperative presentation; the patient had a sealant restoration in the lower left first molar

A 26-year-old female retail assistant presented at York Dental Practice for an emergency visit. She was experiencing pain from her lower left third molar. A full examination was carried out, which indicated the patient had a very well-maintained and minimally restored dentition.

The examination revealed the patient had a sealant restoration in the lower left first molar (Figure 1). The sealant showed visible clinical signs of leakage. This resulted in an occlusal cavity with an International Caries Detection Assessment System (ICDAS) score of four.

Ten-year follow-up of traditional sealants by Christensen, Ploeger and Palmer (2001) show a failure rate of up to 92%.

Treatment options were discussed, following which the patient opted for a direct composite restoration for aesthetic reasons.

An aerosol-generating procedure (AGP) treatment appointment was arranged in line with the practice’s current standard operating protocols (SOPs).

All images were taken using a Carestream 1500 wireless intraoral camera. This is an easily cleansable method to record the treatment stages during the AGP appointment.


  • Figure 2: Cavity form following caries removal with a round rose head bur

The caries was accessed with round-ended diamond burs, and removal was completed with a round rose head bur (Figure 2). Undercuts were removed to create a rounded cavity base to encourage fracture resistance through reduction of configuration factor (C-factor).

A wide-radius enamel bevel was created with a flame-shaped diamond bur. This formed an infinity edge margin to aid composite bonding and shade integration (Figures 3 and 4).

A 37% phosphoric acid etch gel was selectively applied for 30 seconds. This prepares the enamel surface for bonding, followed by copious irrigation with water. A seventh-generation resin bonding agent was massaged into the dentine for 20 seconds. This was then air-thinned and light-cured for 20 seconds.

Venus Pearl One

The composite chosen to restore the tooth was Kulzer Venus Pearl One, which was placed using the Bioclear technique. When selected for appropriate posterior occlusal cavities, Venus Pearl One is ideal for creation of durable, monolithic restorations. Venus Pearl One does not stick to instruments or pull away from the cavity. This makes it easy to shape and form into the surrounding tooth structure and create the required occlusal anatomy.

The material was gently heated in a Bioclear Heat Sync heater.  A small amount of bonding adhesive was placed in the cavity to act as a wetting agent, and air-thinned without light-curing. A small quantity of heated A2 shade Kulzer Venus Diamond Flow was placed in the cavity base, again without being light-cured. This was immediately followed by injection of the heated Venus Pearl One composite. This produced the final monolithic restoration with a high proportion of filler particles. It drove out the uncured flowable composite.

The author finds that heating can improve the bulk fill of the composite material, enhance marginal integrity and reduce microleakage (Nada and El-Mowafy, 2011). Studies also reveal heating can increase the degree of monomer conversion during polymerisation (Conditt and Leinfelder, 2006).

Some research has indicated that this improves compressive strength (Lucey et al, 2010) and helps to reduce the risk of voids (Choudhary et al, 2011) with increased surface hardness (Muñoz et al, 2008).

Seamless colour adaptation

  • Figures 5 and 6: Immediate post placement of composite restoration, prior to occlusal adjustments

Initial shaping of fissure patterns in the uncured composite was carried out using a Bioclear sculpting point and curved sculpting paddle. The restoration was light-cured for 20 seconds, then a further 20 seconds through K-Y jelly to set the oxygen inhibition layer (Figures 5 and 6).

Occlusal adjustments were made (Figures 7 and 8) and treatment was concluded with a final polish using a superfine Shofu Greenie polisher.

The Venus Pearl One occlusal filling, with its adaptive light-matching properties, will draw in colour from the surrounding dentition by absorbing the lightwaves that are reflected by the natural tooth shade value. The composite blends seamlessly into the surrounding dentition and adapts to any tooth shade from A1 to D4.

Natural-looking restoration

Patient aims and objectives are paramount when considering the selection of materials and techniques for the agreed treatment course. In this case, the choice of Venus Pearl One saved time, as there was no need for careful shade matching. Guesswork was eliminated and chairside time reduced, resulting in a more relaxed experience for the patient.

Figure 9: The Venus Pearl One composite filling adapts its colour to the surrounding natural tooth structure

The treatment has provided a natural-looking restoration (Figure 9) that will continue to blend with the surrounding dentition as it changes colour over time. The high flexural strength of the material will further help to reduce the risk of iatrogenic occurrence leading to remedial work.    

The patient was extremely pleased with the outcome. During follow-up two months after the treatment, the patient reported that she could not point out which tooth had been filled, commenting that the restoration was ‘brilliant’.


Choudhary N, Kamat S, Mangala T, Thomas M (2011) Effect of pre-heating composite resin on gap formation at three different temperatures. J Conserv Dent 14(2): 191-5.

Christensen RP, Ploeger BJ, Palmer TM (2001) The role of pit-and-fissure discoloration in caries assessment. Compend Contin Educ Dent 22(11A): 996-1002, 1004-7; quiz 1044

Conditt M, Leinfelder K (2006) Improving the polymerization of composite resins. Pract Proced Aesthet Dent 18(3): 169-71

Lucey S, Lynch CD, Ray NJ, Burke FM, Hannigan A (2010) Effect of pre-heating on the viscosity and microhardness of a resin composite. J Oral Rehabil 37(4): 278-82

Muñoz CA, Bond PR, Sy-Muñoz J, Tan D, Peterson J (2008) Effect of pre-heating on depth of cure and surface hardness of light-polymerized resin composites. Am J Dent 21(4): 215-22

Nada K, El-Mowafy O (2011) Effect of precuring warming on mechanical properties of restorative composites. Int J Dent 536212

This article first appeared in Young Dentist magazine.

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