Purpose: To evaluate the effect of different HF-etching protocols on the dissolution depth and micromorphology of the etched and adjacent surfaces of ultrathin glass-ceramic specimens.
Keywords: ceramics, hydrofluoric acid, acid etching, etching deepness, scanning electron microscopy, surface treatments
Materials and Methods: One hundred twenty specimens (6 x 6 x 0.3 mm) of leucite-reinforced glass-ceramic (LEU, IPS Empress, Ivoclar Vivadent) and lithium-disilicate-reinforced glass-ceramic (LD, IPS e.max, Ivoclar Vivadent) were prepared. Specimens were divided into 5 groups (n = 12) according to etching protocol: G1: control, untreated; G2: 5% hydrofluoric acid (HF) etching for 20 s (HF5%20s); G3: HF5%60s; G4: HF10%20s; and G5: HF10%60s. To analyze the dissolution depth, specimens were sectioned into two similarly sized halves using a chisel to create an internal surface (IS). Specimens were analyzed with scanning electron microscopy (SEM) on the following surfaces: HF application surface (AS), lateral surface (LS), internal surface (IS), and the surface opposite to the AS (OS). Dissolution patterns were identified. Data were submitted to one-way ANOVA and Bonferroni’s test (α = 0.05). Dissolution depth data were submitted to Kruskal-Wallis and Mann-Whitney U-tests (α = 0.05). The prevalence of different dissolution patterns was analyzed using SEM.
Results: HF gel applied on the AS also affected the adjacent surfaces of all specimens. Different dissolution patterns were observed, which were dependent of HF-etching protocol and proportion of the glass phase in the ceramic. These patterns were categorized into four types for LEU (I-IV) and three for LD (I-III) according to the micropore size. The greater the micropore size, the more pronounced the etching pattern (p < 0.001). Higher HF times and concentrations showed prevalence of more severe etching patterns. HF10%60s produced greater dissolution depth in both materials when compared with other HF-etching groups (p < 0.05).
Conclusion: Hydrofluoric acid etching not only affects the surface upon which it is applied, but internal, lateral and even opposite edges of glass ceramic. Different dissolution patterns and depths can be formed which are dependent of hydrofluoric acid concentration, application time, and proportion of the glass phase in the ceramic.