To resolve the feasibility of the pulse-delay photocuring technique as a clinical strategy for reducing the detrimental polymerization stress induced in dental composites during the photocuring process. Model dental composites with high and low-filler contents were cured with the pulse-delay photocuring technique using different combinations of photocuring variables (irradiance, exposure time, and delay time). Irradiance used ranged from 0.1W/cm2 to 4W/cm2. The exposure time of the first pulse varied from 0.2s to 27.2s and the delay times ranged from 10s to 120s. The radiant exposure was varied from 4J/cm2 to 20J/cm2. A cantilever-beam based instrument (NIST Standards Reference Instrument 6005) was used to implement the photocuring technique for the measurement of the polymerization properties (the degree of monomer conversion, polymerization stress induced due to shrinkage, and temperature change due to the reaction exotherm and curing light absorbance) simultaneously in real-time. These properties were compared with those obtained using the conventional photocuring technique (i.e., using a constant irradiance for a fixed exposure time, a uniform exposure). There exists a minimum radiant exposure, such that a reduction in the polymerization stress can be achieved without sacrificing the degree of monomer conversion by using the pulse-delay over the conventional photocuring technique. More specifically, stress reductions of up to 19% and 32% was observed with the pulse-delay when compared with the conventional photocuring technique at an irradiance of 0.5W/cm2 and 4W/cm2, respectively. The reduction occurred when the exposure time of the first pulse was greater than, but closer to, the gelation time (i.e., lower than the vitrification time) of the composite, regardless of the delay time used. Lower thermal shrinkage (contraction) during the post-curing time, rather than the stress relaxation during the delay time or lower degree of monomer conversion as claimed in the literature, is the cause of the reduction in the polymerization stress. The study clarifies a long-standing confusion and controversy on the applicability of the pulse-delay photocuring technique for reducing the polymerization stress and promotes its potential clinical success for dental restorative composites. Published by Elsevier Inc.