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ABSTRACT: Carious dentin is partially demineralized and contains mineral crystals in the tubules. This may permit the deeper etching of intertubular dentin but prevent resin tag formation during bonding. We hypothesize that resin adhesives will produce lower bond strengths to caries-infected and caries-affected dentin compared with normal dentin. We tested this by measuring the microtensile bond strength of a total-etch adhesive and an experimental self-etching adhesive (ABF) to caries-infected, caries-affected, and sound dentin and by correlating those results with ultrastructural observations. The bond strengths of both adhesives to sound dentin were significantly (p < 0.05) higher than those to caries-affected dentin, which, in turn were significantly (p < 0.05) higher than those to caries-infected dentin. For both adhesives, hybrid layers in caries-affected dentin were thicker but more porous than those in sound dentin. The lower bond strengths may be due to the lower tensile strength of caries-affected dentin. Clinically, this may not be a problem, since such lesions are normally surrounded by normal dentin or enamel.
Journal of Dental Research 08/2002; 81(8):556-60. DOI:10.1177/154405910208100811