Bonding of resin composite fillings, for example following root-canal treatment, is a challenge because remaining gaps grow and lead to failure. Here, phase-contrast-enhanced micro-computed tomography (PCE-CT) is used to explore methods of non-destructive quantification of the problem, so that countermeasures can be devised. Five human central incisors with damaged crowns were root-filled followed by restoration with a dental post. Thereafter, the crowns were rebuilt with a resin composite that was bonded conventionally to the tooth with a dental adhesive system (Futurabond U). Each sample was imaged by PCE-CT in a synchrotron facility (ID19, European Synchrotron Radiation Facility) with a pixel size of 650 nm. The reconstructed datasets from each sample were segmented and analysed in a semi-automated manner using ImageJ. PCE-CT at sub-micrometre resolution provided images with an impressive increased contrast and detail when compared with laboratory micro-computed tomography. The interface between the dental adhesive and the tooth was often strongly disrupted by the presence of large debonded gaps (on average 34% ± 15% on all surfaces). The thickness of the gaps spanned 2 µm to 16 µm. There was a large variability in the distribution of gaps within the bonding area in each sample, with some regions around the canal exhibiting up to 100% discontinuity. Although only several micrometres thick, the extensive wide gaps may serve as gateways to biofilm leakage, leading to failure of the restorations. They can also act as stress-raising `cracks' that are likely to expand over time in response to cyclic mechanical loading as a consequence of mastication. The observations here show how PCE-CT can be used as a non-destructive quantitative tool for understanding and improving the performance of clinically used bonded dental restorations.
phase contrast enhanced micro-CT
600 Technik, Medizin, angewandte Wissenschaften::610 Medizin und Gesundheit::610 Medizin und Gesundheit
Hard X-ray phase-contrast-enhanced micro-CT for quantifying interfaces within brittle dense root-filling-restored human teeth
Journal of Synchrotron Radiation
Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin