It has been suggested that the hybrid layer (HL) does not play any important role in the mechanism of adhesion to dentin. To substantiate this hypothetical insignificance of the HL, sodium hypochlorite (NaOCl) has been used to remove collagen from etched dentin prior to bonding. Objectives: The present study was conducted to determine the effect of a commercial 10% NaOCl gel on the dentin shear bond strengths and HL ultra-morphology of two simplified dentin adhesives. The null hypothesis tested was that treatment of etched dentin collagen with NaOCl would not compromise dentin bonding. Methods: The labial surface of eighty bovine incisors was polished to expose middle dentin. The specimens were randomly assigned to two total-etch adhesive systems (N = 40) : Prime&Bond NT (Dentsply Caulk); and Single Bond (3M Dental Products Division). After rinsing off the etchant, one drop of 10% NaOCl (AD Gel, Kuraray Ltd.) was applied to the etched dentin surface and left for O (control), 15, 30, or 60 s. The gel was rinsed off with water and the dentin surface kept visibly moist prior to the application of the adhesive as per manufacturer's instructions. The respective composite resin was subsequently applied and light-cured. After 24 h in water at 37°C, the specimens were thermocycled for 500 cycles in baths kept at 5 and 55°C and the shear bond strengths measured. The data were analyzed with two-way ANOVA. For TEM, sixteen dentin disks were taken from middle dentin of extracted human third molars, assigned to the eight treatment sequences, and observed. Results: The increase in the NaOCl application time resulted in a progressive decrease in shear bond strengths for both dentin adhesives. For Single Bond, the application of AD Gel for 60 s resulted in a reduction of bond strengths to 38% of that obtained for the control. For Prime&Bond NT, the mean bond strength obtained when AD Gel was applied for 60 s was 31% of that obtained for the control. The application of AD Gel resulted in distinct morphology for each one of the two adhesives tested. For Single Bond, the general morphology of the collagen network was maintained, regardless of the deproteinization time. The interfibrillar space within the collagen network increased with increasing deproteinization times. For Prime&Bond NT, the general appearance of the HL was maintained for deproteinization times of 15 and 30 s. When the NaOCl gel was applied for 60 s, the morphological appearance of the HL lost its fibrillar arrangement. While remnants of the collagen fibers were observed in one of the dentin disks, the other specimen showed an amorphous structure without any discernible HL morphological features. Significance: The integrity of the collagen fibrils left exposed upon acid-etching plays a major role in the mechanism of adhesion of the specific adhesive systems tested in this study. The intermingling of the adhesive monomers with the filigree of collagen fibers or HL should still be considered the paramount dentin bonding mechanism.
- Dentin bonding
- Sodium hypochlorite gel