Calculation of contraction stresses in dental composites by analysis of crack propagation in the matrix surrounding a cavity

Takatsugu Yamamoto, Jack L. Ferracane, Ronald L. Sakaguchi, Michael V. Swain

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Objectives: Polymerization contraction of dental composite produces a stress field in the bonded surrounding substrate that may be capable of propagating cracks from pre-existing flaws. The objectives of this study were to assess the extent of crack propagation from flaws in the surrounding ceramic substrate caused by composite contraction stresses, and to propose a method to calculate the contraction stress in the ceramic using indentation fracture. Methods: Initial cracks were introduced with a Vickers indenter near a cylindrical hole drilled into a glass-ceramic simulating enamel. Lengths of the radial indentation cracks were measured. Three composites having different contraction stresses were cured within the hole using one- or two-step light-activation methods and the crack lengths were measured. The contraction stress in the ceramic was calculated from the crack length and the fracture toughness of the glass-ceramic. Interfacial gaps between the composite and the ceramic were expressed as the ratio of the gap length to the hole perimeter, as well as the maximum gap width. Results: All groups revealed crack propagation and the formation of contraction gaps. The calculated contraction stresses ranged from 4.2 MPa to 7.0 MPa. There was no correlation between the stress values and the contraction gaps. Significance: This method for calculating the stresses produced by composites is a relatively simple technique requiring a conventional hardness tester. The method can investigate two clinical phenomena that may occur during the placement of composite restorations, i.e. simulated enamel cracking near the margins and the formation of contraction gaps.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)543-550
Number of pages8
JournalDental Materials
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2009


  • Ceramic
  • Dental composite
  • Indentation
  • Polymerization contraction stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Dentistry(all)
  • Mechanics of Materials


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