The use of micro-CT with image segmentation to quantify leakage in dental restorations

Carola A. Carrera, Caixia Lan, David Escobar-Sanabria, Yuping Li, Joel Rudney, Conrado Aparicio, Alex Fok

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


Objective To develop a method for quantifying leakage in composite resin restorations after curing, using non-destructive X-ray micro-computed tomography (micro-CT) and image segmentation. Methods Class-I cavity preparations were made in 20 human third molars, which were divided into 2 groups. Group I was restored with Z100 and Group II with Filtek LS. Micro-CT scans were taken for both groups before and after they were submerged in silver nitrate solution (AgNO3 50%) to reveal any interfacial gap and leakage at the tooth restoration interface. Image segmentation was carried out by first performing image correlation to align the before- and after-treatment images and then by image subtraction to isolate the silver nitrate penetrant for precise volume calculation. Two-tailed Student's t-test was used to analyze the results, with the level of significance set at p < 0.05. Results All samples from Group I showed silver nitrate penetration with a mean volume of 1.3 ± 0.7 mm3. In Group II, only 2 out of the 10 restorations displayed infiltration along the interface, giving a mean volume of 0.3 ± 0.3 mm3. The difference between the two groups was statistically significant (p < 0.05). The infiltration showed non-uniform patterns within the interface. Significance We have developed a method to quantify the volume of leakage using non-destructive micro-CT, silver nitrate infiltration and image segmentation. Our results confirmed that substantial leakage could occur in composite restorations that have imperfections in the adhesive layer or interfacial debonding through polymerization shrinkage. For the restorative systems investigated in this study, this occurred mostly at the interface between the adhesive system and the tooth structure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)382-390
Number of pages9
JournalDental Materials
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2015


  • Composite resins
  • Dental adhesives
  • Interfacial debonding
  • Leakage
  • Micro-CT
  • Secondary caries

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