Packable composites

Packable or condensable composites were developed to provide a composite that handled more like amalgam. This marketing ploy by dental product manufacturers was an attempt to increase the use of composites by older dentists who were not trained in their use in dental school, and younger dentists who were looking for a more user-friendly material. Packable composites have a higher viscosity and are less ''sticky'' than other composite restoratives. The viscosity increase is obtained through changes in the particle size distribution and incorporation of fibers [81]. These composites were introduced to the market as amalgam substitutes, as practitioners searched for the ideal esthetic material with handling properties similar to amalgam. Another desire was to find a material that would establish adequate proximal contacts more easily than traditional hybrid composites. Claims of improved handling properties and better adaptation to the matrix band in Class II restorations have piqued the interest of many clinicians. The dental professions have referred to these materials as ''packable composites'' instead of ''condensable,'' because of their greater viscosity and decreased stickiness compared with conventional hybrid composites. When initially placed, these materials were more viscous than traditional hybrid composites; however, after placement the viscosity decreased as the temperature of the material equilibrated with the temperature of the oral cavity. Although the ''packable composites'' showed improved handling properties for restoring Class I and II preparations, they have not fully solved the problem of achieving adequate interproximal contacts. Because packable composites do not have substantially better mechanical properties than hybrid composites, they would not be expected to perform better clinically [86]. In addition, because of the development of improved placement instruments and matrix systems to achieve better interproximal contacts, the need for packable or condensable materials has decreased, resulting in a decreased market share. In summary, the mechanical properties of the packable composites are not significantly better than other hybrid formulations, and there have not been sufficient long-term clinical studies to determine how these materials will perform long-term in the oral cavity. Their use as a direct dental restorative may be limited [18, 55, 57].

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