Essentia. The smart simplification of a composite system!

Javier Tapia Guadix DDS, CG Artist

Leonardo da Vinci said that simplicity is the ultimate way of sophistication.

When it comes to developing an aesthetic dental composite material, we tend to overcomplicate things, caused either by old recurring concepts, by industry competitiveness or by wrong analysis of nature observation. However, ultimate simplification is possible when we jump across these problems and start from scratch. Developed within the GC Europe Restorative Advisory Board, Essentia represents the minimalism inside the composite world, a simplified system that enables an easy but effective aesthetic restoration with a very limited amount of shades, becoming a paradigm shift in layering composites.

The classic concept of a composite material with a big variety of hues and chroma within its range is starting to become obsolete. The actual tendency is to have a unique hue but still with a big range of chroma options. We took the simplification further to create a new approach with only three dentins and two enamels as a base.

Regarding teeth, the base color (hue, value and chroma) is mainly given by dentin, followed by a modulation of value by enamel. Value is also determined by the opacity of a translucent material, opaque materials have a higher value, while translucent materials have a lower value. It is known that matching hue and chroma is not as important for a successful restoration as matching value.

Using the same base opacity for all dentin shades in a system can generate problems as younger teeth have very little chroma and high opacity, while elder teeth have very high chroma and low opacity. Essentia is designed to use just three dentins (light, medium and dark) with increasing chroma and decreasing opacity in order to match the natural aging process. Enamels act in a very similar way, with whiter and more opaque enamel on young teeth and more translucent and chromatic on older teeth. Essentia uses just two enamel shades, one with high value (light) and another one with lower value (dark) and small amount of chroma.

Together, these three dentins and two enamels give four basic combinations that are used as a base for any anterior restoration: light dentin with light enamel (junior/bleach), medium dentin with light enamel (young), medium dentin with dark enamel (adult) and dark dentin with dark enamel (senior). Dark dentin and light enamel can be combined for posterior restorations, enabling a high chromatic dentin substrate to be modulated by higher value enamel on the occlusal surface.

Some specific situations such as a discolored substrate might require an additional step when layering composites. The system contains a high-filled opaque flowable composite in order to block discolorations with a very thin layer application.

For young incisors with strong opalescent halo, Essentia provides a special enamel shade, optimized for a very natural opalescent effect.For intrinsic or extrinsic characterization such as fissure staining or white spots, Essentia also features three flowable stains: white, black and dark red brown.

Finally, to leave the door open for further simplification, one universal shade with an optimized chameleon effect was also included in the system. This material is designed to be used mainly in posterior region for one shade restorations. Its properties also make it a good option for heated composite cementation procedures.

From a chemical point of view, it is important to notice that dentin and enamel shades have different composition. While dentin shades are optimized for a higher scattering effect mimicking that of the natural dentin, enamel shades are designed for a higher translucency with a very high polishability and gloss retention.

As demonstrated in the case reports, the clinical outcome of this simplified material is reaching high standards, with naturally blending restorations that integrate harmonically in the mouth. This thereby shows that the ultimate simplification of composite systems is no longer a future possibility, but a present reality.

Learning Objectives:

  • Understand teeth aging process and it’s impact on shade selection.
  • Learn shade selection strategies to work with different materials.
  • Simplify layering technique by proper material selection.


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Essentia from GC

C.E. Credits: 1 CE
Release date: Saturday, April 28, 2018
Expiration date: Wednesday, April 28, 2021