3M Filtek Universal Restorative

3M Filtek Universal Restorative

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3M has introduced 3M Filtek Universal Restorative, a new universal nano composite designed for anterior and posterior restorations with a shading process that has been simplified. It is a highly filled composite with about 76.5% filler loading by weight and is comprised of silica, zirconia and ytterbium trifluoride nanoparticles and are surrounded by nanoclusters of silica/zirconia.The nanoparticles and nanoclusters results in improved handling and physical properties. It has high flexural strength of around 152MPa


3M also combined two low-stress monomers - AUDMA and AFM - which effectively acts to reduce polymerisation shrinkage to around 1.8%. Most composites in today's market have a shrinkage of 1.8-1.9%


3M simplified the overall shade selection process by developing eight shades, plus an extra white (XW), that cover the 19 VITA classical and bleach shades (according to manufacturer data). A pink opaquer was also created to mask metal and stained dentition. In addition, the shades have one universal opacity to meet most clinical needs and uses 3M's NaturalMatch Technology.

Sounds good in theory but how does it really behave in a real clinical situation? Lets have a look. We replaced two failing composite resin restorations. We have placed an implant that is ready to be restored. No better time to replace these composite restorations to create ideal contact areas. Of the two, tooth 25 had the larger restoration with caries so we will focus on this tooth for the purpose of this review.

Our Protocol:

  • Test for pulp vitality with aerosol refrigerant.

  • Anaesthetise the tooth.

  • Place rubber dam isolation.

  • Remove existing restorations and access the caries.

  • Stain the caries lesion by placing caries-detecting dye.

  • Remove peripheral caries and creating a peripheral seal zone (Alleman, 2015).

  • Peripheral seal zone if confirmed

  • Can leave slightly infected and partially demineralized inner dentine. This is characterised by areas that are stained more lightly. This has a pink-haze as differentiated from the red staining.

  • Acid etch

  • Dry the prep with a cotton pellet

  • Place Gluma (Glutaraldehyde/HEMA) - desensitizes the tooth, inactivates MMPs enzymatic activity, serves as a re-wetting agent and is antibacterial.

  • Placement of Primer

  • Placement of Adhesive

  • Placement of flowable composite resin along the gingival margin and line angles.

  • Placement of composite resin in incremental fashion.

  • Addition of tints as required

  • Gross finishing with fine diamond burs and discs

  • Remove the rubber dam

  • Check occlusal contacts

  • Complete finishing process with fine diamond burs and strips, discs and impregnated rubber points


Pros and Cons


  • Shades match is good. It blends in well with the surrounding tooth.

  • Great polishibility.

  • Good packability.

  • Holds its shape well.

  • Radioopacity that is slightly more opaque than enamel.


  • It was a little bit sticky sticky side.

  • Cannot do any internal layering of your composite.

  • High anterior aesthetic cases will get more of a monolithic appearance.

Overall, 3M have made a nice product that is easy to use and has a beautiful result. It's big difference to other composites on the market is that it claims that 9 shades will cover the 19 shades VITA classical and bleach shades.


A breakdown is as follows:

Extra White (XW) = 0M1, 0M2, 0M3

A1 = A1, C1, D2

A2 = A2, D4

A3 = A3, B3

A3.5 = A3.5, B4

A4 = A4

B1 = B1

B2 = B2, C2

D3 = C3, C4, D3

How does it compare to the other Filtek products? It is less complex to use in terms of shade selection than Filtek Supreme. In order to use Filtek Supreme you have to get an enamel shade, a body shade, a dentine shade and then get the translucent shades. Off course, the down side is that you cannot do any layering with Filtek Universal. On the flip side, it is as good in polishibility and it is more packable than Filtek Supreme. It is a little sticky similar to that of Filtek One Bulk Fill but finishes so much better.

Stay tuned for more dental materials and equipment reviews. Follow dr.andrewsee to see more cases, tips of the trade and dental photography.

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We believe that the highest quality of dentistry comes from education, experience and dedication. When combined with passion, we have a recipe for success.

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