Objective: The aim of this study was to observe the resin/dentin interfaces of universal adhesives by using scanning electron microscopy (SEM), and to compare their morphologies with conventional etch & rinse (ER) and self-etch (SE) adhesive systems. Methods: Two three-step and one two-step ER adhesives and two two-step and two single-step SE adhesives were used for comparison with seven universal adhesives in ER mode and SE mode, respectively. Bonded surfaces with bovine teeth were longitudinally sectioned and mirror-polished. Half of the samples were treated with HCl and NaOCl solutions. The interfaces were subjected to argon ion beam etching and then observed by scanning electron microscopy. Results: The thickness of the adhesive layer (AL) of most of the seven universal adhesives and single-step SE adhesives was similar. Universal adhesives in SE mode formed a hybrid smear layer as a high-density zone between the AL and dentin. The thickness of the hybrid layer (HL) of the universal adhesives in ER mode was ∼1–2 μm, with a high-density zone (reaction layer [RL]) below the HL. Conclusion: The morphological features of most universal adhesives in SE mode and single-step SE adhesives are similar. Although resin–dentin interfaces of universal adhesives in ER mode resemble those of ER adhesives, universal adhesives have a distinctive feature, an RL. Significance: The RL might be a sign of chemical bonding even when using universal adhesives in ER mode.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Materials Science(all)
- Mechanics of Materials