This in vitro study evaluated the effects of delayed versus immediate polishing to permit maturation of interfacial gap-formation around highly viscous conventional glass-ionomer cement (HV-GIC) in Class I restorations, together with determining the associated mechanical properties. Cavity preparations were made on the occlusal surfaces of premolars. Three HV-GICs (Fuji IX GP, Glaslonomer FX-II and Ketac Molar) and one conventional glass-ionomer cement (C-GIC, Fuji II, as a control) were studied, with specimen subgroups (n=10) for each property measured. After polishing, either immediately (six minutes) after setting or after 24 hours storage, the restored teeth were sectioned in a mesiodistal direction through the center of the model Class I restorations. The presence or absence of interfacial-gaps was measured at 1000x magnification at 14 points (each 0.5-mm apart) along the cavity restoration interface (n=10; total points measured per group = 140). Marginal gaps were similarly measured in Teflon molds as swelling data, together with shear-bond-strength to enamel and dentin, flexural strength and moduli. For three HV-GICs and one C-GIC, significant differences (p<0.05) in gap-incidence were observed between polishing immediately and after one-day storage. In the former case, 80-100 gaps were found. In the latter case, only 9-21 gaps were observed. For all materials, their shear-bond-strengths, flexural strength and moduli increased significantly after 24-hour storage.
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