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Does warming composite prior to placing in preparation result in better depth curing?


This question was submitted by a general dentist: Does warming composite prior to placing in preparation result in better depth curing?

Dr. Jacinta Santos, Assistant Professor of Restorative Dentistry, Schulich School of Dentistry at Western University, provided a quick initial response 

Studies have demonstrated that pre-heating resin composite produces many benefits for the restoration process:

  • Reduced pre-cured viscosity
  • Enhanced adaptation
  • Increased post-cured surface hardness
  • Increased degree of polymerization

Research shows that pre-heating composite in a heating device to a temperature of approximately 68°C (± 50 – 55 °C in the composite material) can provide advantages during the restoration process. However, once the composite is pre-heated, there is a time delay between the heating and light polymerization process. Therefore, clinically it is important to work efficiently during this process to minimize heat loss.

When heating resin composite it is important to have it prepared in a timely fashion. The resin composite needs time to heat up and thus if you know it will be used on a patient, the heating process needs to be prepared in advance. Studies have shown that even when preheated composites cool below 54°C, higher monomer conversion is still superior when compared to resin composites cured at room temperature. Never take resin from the fridge and use it immediately on the patient!


  1. Daronch, M., Rueggeberg, FA., & De Goes, MF. (2005) Monomer conversion of pre-heated composite. Journal of Dental Research, 84; 663-667.
  2. Fróes-Salgado, N., Silva, L., Kawano, Y., Francci, C., Reis, A., & Loguercio, A. (2010). Composite pre-heating: Effects on marginal adaptation, degree of conversion and mechanical properties. Dental Materials, 26; 908-914.
  3. Lucey, S., Lynch, C., Ray, N., Burke, F., & Hannigan, A. (2010). Effect of pre-heating on viscosity and microhardness of a resin composite. Journal of Oral Rehabilitation, 37; 278-282. 


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1 Comment

  1. Tom December 10, 2013

    This doesn’t answer the question that was posed at all.


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