OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to evaluate whether different enamel etching methods with reduced etching times would improve the bonding effectiveness of universal adhesives. METHODS AND MATERIALS: Three enamel etching methods, phosphoric acid ester monomer (PPM) etching, phosphoric acid (PPA) etching, and polyalkenoic acid (PLA) etching, and three universal adhesives, G-Premio Bond (GP), Prime&Bond elect (PE), and Scotchbond Universal Adhesive (SU), were evaluated. Initial bond strengths and fatigue strengths of universal adhesives to ground enamel and ground enamel etched for less than one, five, 10, and 15 seconds using different etching methods were determined. The bonded fatigue specimens were loaded using a sine wave at a frequency of 20 Hz for 50,000 cycles or until failure occurred with a staircase method. Atomic force micrograph (AFM) observations along with measurements of surface Ra roughness and modified surface area of enamel with different etching protocols were also conducted. RESULTS: The bond fatigue durability of universal adhesives to enamel with PPA etching from less than one to 15 seconds and PLA etching for 15 seconds was significantly higher than that to ground enamel. The bond fatigue durability to enamel with PPM etching was not increased compared with ground enamel. The surface Ra roughness and surface area obtained with AFM of enamel increased after PPA and PLA etching, and those values were significantly higher than those of ground enamel. Furthermore, surface Ra roughness and surface area with PPA etching were significantly higher than those with PLA etching. However, surface Ra roughness and surface area of enamel with PPM etching were similar to those of ground enamel regardless of etching time. CONCLUSION: PPA etching for less than one to 15 seconds and PLA etching for 15 seconds improve universal adhesive bonding, surface Ra roughness, and surface area of enamel. However, PPM etching is not effective, regardless of etching time, in improving bonds strengths, increasing surface roughness, and increasing surface area.
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