In light of the increased popularity of less acidic, so-called 'ultra-mild' self-etch adhesives, adhesion to enamel is becoming more critical. It is hypothesized that this compromised enamel bonding should, to a certain extent, be attributed to interference of bur debris smeared across enamel during cavity preparation. High-resolution transmission electron microscopy revealed that the enamel smear layer differed not only in thickness, but also in crystal density and size, depending on the surface-preparation method used. Lab-demineralization of sections clearly disclosed that resin-infiltration of an ultra-mild self-etch adhesive progressed preferentially along micro-cracks that were abundantly present at and underneath the bur-cut enamel surface. The surface-preparation method significantly affected the nature of the smear layer and the interaction with the ultra-mild adhesive, being more uniform and dense for a lab-SiC-prepared surface vs. a clinically relevant bur-prepared surface.
- hybrid layer
- resin-smear complex
- smear layer
- ultra-mild self-etch adhesive
ASJC Scopus subject areas