Purpose: This study evaluated whether active application of self-etching adhesives would influence their microtensile bond strength (µTBS) to dentin cut with burs of different grit sizes.
Keywords: active application, adhesion to dentin, diamond bur, microtensile bond strength, self-etching adhesives, smear layer, transmission electron microscopy
Materials and Methods: Eighty-four human premolars were divided into 12 groups according to 1) two dentin surface preparations with either superfine- or regular-grit diamond burs; 2) three adhesives – Clearfil SE Bond 2 (SE2), Scotchbond Universal (SBU, 3M Oral Care) and G-Premio Bond (GPB, GC); and 3) two application modes of each adhesive (active or passive). Six bonded teeth per group were sectioned into sticks for µTBS testing. Statistical analyses were performed using 3-way ANOVA followed by Duncan’s test (p < 0.05). Additional teeth were prepared to observe the interaction between the dentin smear layer obtained from each bur with adhesives under different application modes using transmission electron microscopy (TEM).
Results: Active application significantly increased the dentin bond strength of SE2, irrespective of the kind of bur used (p < 0.05). The highest bond strength of SBU was observed when bonded to superfine-grit diamond bur-cut dentin with the active application. There was, however, no influence of the tested factors on GPB group (p > 0.05). TEM observation showed that active application promoted dentin smear layer dissolution in all adhesive groups.
Conclusions: Bond strengths of self-etching adhesives to dentin are influenced by bur-cut smear layers and mainly by application mode of adhesive materials. Active application improves µTBS of self-etching adhesives by enhancing smear layer modification and resin penetration into bur-cut dentin.