The purpose of this study was to compare the depth of cure (DOC) of a resin-based composite (RBC) using the ISO DOC protocol with stainless-steel and molar-tooth molds (4 mm cylindrical cavity). The tooth mold included testing with and without the occlusal surface being covered with black tape around the cavity opening. The RBC was cured with either halogen (HAL) or light-emitting diode (LED) light. The results showed that specimens made in the non-taped tooth mold had DOCs that were significantly greater (28%–35%) than those in the stainless-steel mold. The taped tooth mold also produced significantly greater DOCs, but only by 6%–8%. Knoop hardness (KNH) measurements along the central axis of the RBC specimens showed that depths for 80% of maximum hardness were substantially greater than those determined by the ISO DOC protocol but were limited to the center and quickly dropped below 80% in a lateral direction. The KHN mapping for each of the three molds found that the ISO DOCs could validate a KHN of ≥80% across the RBC to the periphery, only for the non-taped tooth mold. This was due to light incident on the tooth surrounding the RBC being scattered into the RBC.
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