The aim of the present study was to determine the influence of different adhesive application methods and etching modes on enamel bond effectiveness of universal adhesives using shear bond strength (SBS) testing and surface free-energy (SFE) measurements. The adhesives Scotchbond Universal, All-Bond Universal, Adhese Universal, and G-Premio Bond were used. Prepared bovine enamel specimens were divided into four groups, based on type of adhesive, and subjected to the following surface treatments: (i) total-etch mode with active application; (ii) total-etch mode with inactive application; (iii) self-etch mode with active application; and (iv) self-etch mode with inactive application. Bonded specimens were subjected to SBS testing. The SFE of the enamel surfaces with adhesive was measured after rinsing with acetone and water. The SBS values in total-etch mode were significantly higher than those in self-etch mode. In total-etch mode, significantly lower SBS values were observed with active application compared with inactive application; in contrast, in self-etch mode there were no significant differences in SBS between active and inactive applications. A reduction in total SFE was observed for active application compared with inactive application. The interaction between etching mode and application method was statistically significant, and the application method significantly affected enamel bond strength in total-etch mode.
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