Effect of shade, opacity and layer thickness on light transmission through a nano-hybrid dental composite during curing

J Esthet Restor Dent. 2017 Sep;29(5):362-367. doi: 10.1111/jerd.12311. Epub 2017 Jun 19.


Objective: The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of shade and opacity on the change in light transmission through different thicknesses of a nano-hybrid composite during curing.

Materials and methods: Twelve different shades of Venus Diamond (Heraeus Kulzer) were placed in disk shaped molds with thickness of 1, 2, and 3 mm (n = 3 per group) and cured with an LED light-curing unit. Initial, final and average irradiance, and the total amount of energy passing through the specimen were measured using the MARC Resin Calibrator at every 10s for a total of 40s. The translucency parameter and the contrast ratio were obtained using a chromameter. Results were analyzed with ANOVA/Tukey's test (α = 0.05).

Results: All shades and all thicknesses (up to 3 mm) experienced an increase in light transmittance during curing. The majority of the increase occurred during the initial 10s exposure, with significant increase occurring from subsequent exposures only in thicker specimens (i.e., 3 mm). The increase in irradiance at the bottom during curing was dependent on shade, with darker shades and greater depths of material showing less increase.

Conclusions: For one specific resin composite formulation, an increase in translucency occurs as cure progresses, and the increase is enhanced for composites with greater lightness and lower contrast ratio.

Clinical significance: Composites demonstrate increased light transmittance as curing progress, which may improve depth of cure. The thicker composite showed the least increase in light transmission within the same shade. The increase in translucency is enhanced for composites with great lightness and lower contrast ratio.

Keywords: contrast ratio; dental composites; light transmittance; shade; translucency parameter.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Color
  • Composite Resins / chemistry*
  • Composite Resins / radiation effects*
  • Curing Lights, Dental*
  • Dental Materials / chemistry
  • Materials Testing
  • Surface Properties


  • Composite Resins
  • Dental Materials
  • Venus (composite resin)