The minimalist trend when it comes to the number of shades has hit 3M with the introduction of Filtek Universal. It also has a simple and truncated moniker, which we applaud. It features “NaturalMatch Technology”, which is described as a blend of nanofillers and proprietary monomers that creates beautiful restorations with less shades — 10 to be exact. These shades, described as “designer”, will presumably cover most patients. And they are stated to blend into the surrounding dentition, which means they can achieve the elusive chameleon effect.
Other claims include an “excellent, creamy handling”, “AFM Monomer” that “provides low shrinkage-stress”, “long-lasting polish”, 2mm depth of cure, “natural, tooth-like fluorescence”, and “excellent wear resistance”.
The material itself has a combination of a non-agglomerated/non-aggregated 20nm silica filler, a non-agglomerated/non-aggregated 4-11nm zirconia filler, an aggregated zirconia/silica cluster filler (comprised of 20nm silica and 4-11nm zirconia), and 100nm agglomerated ytterbium trifluoride filler, all of which add up to a filler load of 76.5% by weight and 58.4% by volume. The resin matrix contains AUDMA, AFM, diurethane-DMA, and 1,12-dodecane-DMA.
The handling is really nice. It has minimal stickiness, very little slump, and easy sculpting, being slightly creamier and softer than Filtek Supreme Ultra. After finishing and polishing, we found almost no voids. It polishes to a high shine with PoGo.
The 10 shades include 8 matched to Vita (A1, A2, A3, A3.5, A4, B1, B2, and D3) plus XW (extra white) and PO (pink opaquer). A2 is a close match to Vita A2, while XW is much lighter than B1 and PO is light pink. The translucency/opacity of these shades was measured at 73.0% for A2, 77.1% for XW, and 96.35% for PO. These values mean that A2 and XW are dentin-like, while PO is, indeed, very opaque.
From a fluorescence standpoint, we found A2 to be darker and purplish compared to natural teeth.
While we did not test its depth of cure for this report, the stated 2mm is fairly standard for a universal composite, but certainly not for a bulk fill. And most universal composites are not in the low shrink category, but Filtek Universal has a stated volumetric shrinkage of 1.8%, which is definitely low for a universal composite.
We also surveyed members of the Editorial Team for their initial experiences with it. Two evaluators really liked its handling, easy polishing, and PO’s opaquing ability.
The Essentials Kit and refills come in very simple, white cardboard boxes with the product name printed on the top, the shade on the refills clearly shown on labels sealing the boxes, and labels on the bottom displaying both the manufacturing and expiration dates.
Inside the boxes, the capsules come in small, opaque white jars with a flip-up top for dispensing. Underneath the top is a foil seal that needs to be removed. The product name, shade, and expiration date are imprinted on each black capsule, but the color of the printing is medium gray, which makes it somewhat difficult to read. Thankfully, this information is also printed on the jar’s label and is much easier to read in that location. There is also a label on the flip-up lid with the shade.
The nose of each capsule is quite long and the orifice is narrow for easier entry into the deep reaches of preps, but the material is still reasonably easy to dispense.
The multi-lingual directions are on not one, but two, plain paper sheets in the annoying foldout format. There are no photos and illustrations, but the information itself is clear and easy to understand, although you are told it’s OK to light cure for only 10 seconds if you are using an LED emitting >1,000mW/cm2. This may work for small Class Vs, but for Class IIs and core build-ups, we strongly recommend curing for at least 20 seconds. There is also a coated paper foldout with very well-done color illustrations demonstrating its use for several types of restorations.
While Filtek Supreme Ultra continues to be the 3M composite standard-bearer, Filtek Universal certainly appears to be a competent understudy. Its creamy-type handling will appeal to those who don’t like stiffer materials and its dentin-like shades should be adequate for most areas of teeth except translucent incisals. And its polish won’t disappoint you. However, its fluorescence does not live up to its tooth-like claims.