The purpose of this study was to evaluate the marginal integrity of resin-based composite (RBC and resin-modified glass ionomer cement (RMGIC) restorations as a function of finishing technique and location of the tooth. Forty extracted third molars were assigned to four groups (N = 10) according to finishing instruments (aluminum oxide discs, fluted carbides, fine diamonds, and coarse diamond). Each specimen received standardized Class V preparations on the facial and lingual surfaces with occlusal margins on enamel and gingival margins on dentin. Each preparation was randomly assigned to be restored with either RBC or RMGIC. Specimens were finished with standardized pressure at approximately 0.16 N and evaluated at a magnification of 600× using an environmental scanning electron microscope. Occlusal and gingival margins were analyzed using an imaging software, and means for all measured gaps were calculated. Data were analyzed with a factorial analysis of variance. All possible two-way interactions were included, and the level of significance was set at 0.05. There were no statistically significant differences among the four types of finishing instruments used in the study. RBC-restored specimens exhibited significantly smaller mean marginal gaps (1.70-7.56 μm) than RMGI-restored specimens (5.24-14.24 μm) in enamel and dentin margins, respectively. There was a statistically significant difference between enamel and dentin with regard to marginal gap formation. Under the conditions of this study, marginal gap formation was not affected by finishing technique. RBC margins exhibited significantly less marginal gap than RMGI margins, whereas enamel margins resulted in significantly less marginal gap than did dentin margins. Clinical Significance Multiple factors can affect the marginal integrity and the longevity of direct restorations. From these, the finishing and polishing techniques are critical steps that are under the clinician's control, and proper finishing and polishing techniques should be applied for avoiding introduction of stress to the margin of the restoration. It seems that instrumentation do not play a significant role, as much as the restorative material and the substrate to bond.
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