During the light-curing process of composite restoration, excessive heat can be produced, which can potentially lead to pulp necrosis (death). In this study, we aimed, based on the Finite Element Method (FEM), to assess the risk of pulp damage during the light-curing process by investigating the influence of light-curing devices, under various irradiation regimes, on the temperature increase at the pulp-dentin junction, during a one-layer or multi-layered deep composite restoration.
A Three-dimensional finite element method model of typical geometry and material properties, as commonly reported in the literature, was employed in COMSOL Multiphysics simulations in order to determine the temperature increase in the pulp. Various combinations of light intensities, durations, and irradiation regimes were investigated for the two cases, of shallow and deep multi-layered composite restoration.
Results of light-curing composite resins within enamel; indicate that the temperature rise during the curing process was within the safety margins. Results of light-curing composite resin restorations closer to the pulp with thin remaining dentin, indicate a temperature increase that could be sufficient to cause thermal injury in the pulp. Modulating the light output marginally, reduced the temperature rise while reducing the intensity and increasing the curing duration which was consistently more effective in this respect.
The results clearly demonstrate that with currently adopted standard procedures, there exists a risk of thermal injury during multi-layered composite restorations with thin remaining dentin; it is thus important to establish appropriate curing regimes that would lead to minimal temperature increase during deep composite restorations and hence reduce the risk of thermal injury to the pulp.
Keywords: Temperature rise, Finite element method, Resin composites, Curing light-induced damage, Composite curing, Injury.