A Composite System Primed to Meet the Needs of Any Case

Dental Products Report, Dental Products Report March 2021, Volume 55, Issue 3

Gerard Kugel, DMD, PhD, MS, shares his experiences working with and testing Tetric Prime, a versatile universal composite from Ivoclar Vivadent.

Through his work at his Boston dental practice, his role as a dental educator at a local university, and his extensive experience testing new dental materials, Gerard Kugel, DMD, PhD, MS, feels confident he knows what to look for in a composite system.

Throughout his more than 3 decades of clinical experience, Dr Kugel has worked with and tested many generations of direct restoratives. He believes clinicians today have more great material options to choose from than ever, and is excited by some of the newest dental composites that take shade matching to a new level with the ability to match almost any tooth shade with a single composite shade.

“It’s the translucency and refractive index,” he says. “It picks up the color of the [surrounding] teeth, almost mirroring the color.”

Among the materials he’s used, Dr Kugel sees Ivoclar Vivadent’s Tetric Prime as a standout. He first encountered the material while conducting research with composites offering a single-shade chameleon effect.

“Other conventional composites didn’t work as well,” Dr Kugel says. “We were impressed with Tetric Prime. I’ve used it in practice as well. It has a very streamlined shading system in general. They have universal enamel shades, which are great, but you could theoretically complete a lot of restorations with just the translucent shade.”

The material’s composition includes a monomer matrix and filler materials with a matching refractive index to allow light to transmit through the composite in order to produce natural-looking shade blending.

Dr Kugel says the T shade can get the job done on its own for many Class I and II and some Class V restorations, but Tetric Prime offers 11 additional shades with differing levels of translucency to allow more conventional shade matching and customization.

This versatility sets Tetric Prime apart from other composite materials, according to Dr Kugel. He says the translucent shade allows clinicians to work with Tetric Prime the same way they would with other single-shade composites. This means a simplified clinical protocol and less material in inventory. But with Tetric Prime, clinicians gain the benefits of a more traditional composite system as well.

“Ivoclar knows they’ve got a product that’s good for a lot of restorations with the translucent shade, but they’re still giving you the option, which is probably smart,” Dr Kugel says.

The 2 dentin shades are useful for cases in which opacity is critical, he adds, noting that Tetric Prime can be a go-to option for many practices. Still, Tetric Prime brings more than simplified shade matching, Dr Kugel says.

“Most of the new composites that come out are pretty decent,” he adds. “What really makes a difference for dentists with new composites is handling. [Tetric Prime is] creamy, I can sculpt it well and it’s got great handling characteristics. The other thing I found in my study is that it polishes really well.”

As impressed as he is with the material, Dr Kugel says there are still capabilities he hopes to see in restorative materials of the future. While Tetric Prime checks the boxes forsimplified shade matching, reduced inventory, and smooth handling, Dr Kugel says he’d love to have a material that adds self-adhesive to that list of capabilities.

“To me in a perfect world, the ideal composite would be a universal shaded, self-adhesive, bulk fill material that handles well and polishes well,” he says. “We’ve come very far, but we still could make it even better.”

Dr Kugel says there are numerous high-quality restorative materials available today that make it simpler for clinicians to get the results they and their patients expect. Tetric Prime is among the new materials to impress Dr Kugel, and he thinks it makes a great single-shade solution while maintaining the flexibility for use in complex situations.

“Having a product that can answer your questions, meet your needs, and not take up 800 shelves in your storage room is a good thing,” he says.