Saliva contamination is a major clinical problem in restorative procedures. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effect of the time of salivary contamination during light curing on the degree of conversion and the microhardness of a restorative composite resin. Eight groups of 10 samples for measuring the microhardness and eight groups of 5 samples for evaluating the degree of conversion were prepared. The samples of each group were contaminated with human saliva at a certain time. The first group (T0) was contaminated before light curing. The specimens in groups T2-T30 were contaminated at 2, 5, 10, 15, 20 and 30 s after the start of light curing, respectively. The samples of group T40 were contaminated after light curing. The degree of conversion and the microhardness of the specimens were measured by Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy and Vickers hardness testing techniques, respectively. The results of this study revealed that there were no significant differences between the groups in terms of the degree of conversion of the composite resin. Consistent with the findings for the degree of conversion, significant differences in the microhardness between the groups were not found. In conclusion, from a clinical point of view, the results of our study showed that the time of salivary contamination (before, during or after light curing of composite resin) has no significant effect on the polymerization (degree of conversion) and one of the important mechanical properties of dental composite resins (microhardness).
Keywords: composite resin; contamination; degree of conversion; microhardness; saliva.