Restorative composites have evolved significantly since they were first introduced in the early 1960s, with most of the development concentrating on the filler technology. This has led to improved mechanical properties, notably wear resistance, and has expanded the use of composites to larger posterior restorations. On the organic matrix side, concerns over the polymerization stress and the potential damage to the bonded interface have dominated research in the past 20 y, with many "low-shrinkage" composites being launched commercially. The lack of clinical correlation between the use of these materials and improved restoration outcomes has shifted the focus more recently to improving materials' resistance to degradation in the oral environment, caused by aqueous solvents and salivary enzymes, as well as biofilm development. Antimicrobial and ester-free monomers have been developed in the recent past, and evidence is mounting for their potential benefit. This article reviews literature on the newest materials currently on the market and provides an outlook for the future developments needed to improve restoration longevity past the average 10 y.
Keywords: BisGMA; composite resins; methacrylates; permanent dental restorations; polymerization; stress.