Surface properties of composites such as roughness and color impact periodontal health and aesthetic outcomes. Novel bulk-fill composites with improved functionality are being introduced and, in light of the existing variety of finishing/polishing procedures, research of their surface properties is warranted. Sixty discs were prepared from bulk-fill composites (Filtek™ Bulk Fill Posterior Restorative and Fill-Up™) and incremental-fill Filtek™ Z250. They were further divided according to different polishing procedures (n = 5): three multi-step polishing procedures or finishing with a bur (control). Surface roughness (Ra) was measured using an atomic force microscope (The AFM Workshop TT-AFM). A spectrophotometer (Spectroshade Micro Optic) was used to determine color stability, after exposure to a coffee solution. Data were analyzed using two-way MANOVA (significance level of 5%). Resin composite type, polishing procedure, and their interaction had a statistically significant effect on surface roughness (p < 0.001) and color change (p < 0.001). Fill-Up™ exhibited the highest surface roughness and greatest color change. Differences in color change were statistically significant (p < 0.001). Filtek™ Bulk Fill registered the lowest surface roughness and color change, after the three-step polishing procedure. Both parameters were significantly correlated (ρ = 0.754, p < 0.001) and found to be material dependent and polishing-procedure dependent. Higher surface roughness relates to greater color changes.
Keywords: color stability; dental composites; methacrylate-based resin; surface roughness.