To evaluate the effect of surface treatments and bonding systems on the repair bond strength between composite materials after one and 12 months of storage, using an improved microtensile test method.
METHODS: A total of 72 composite cylinders (Tetric Evo Ceram, Ivoclar) were fabricated, stored in distilled water for two weeks followed by thermal cycling (5000 times between 5°C and 55°C), and served as substrate. The cylinders were mechanically roughened using 320-grit silicon carbide sandpaper, etched with 37% phosphoric acid gel, rinsed with water, and divided equally into three experimental groups: group 1, unchanged surface; group 2, sandblasting of the surface (CoJet tribochemical silica sand, 3M ESPE; Microetcher II, Danville Engineering Inc); and group 3, surface silane coating (Bis-Silane, BISCO Inc). Eight control cylinders were prepared and underwent similar aging as the substrate. Each experimental group was divided into subgroups that received the following bonding systems: one-step self-etching adhesive (AdheSE One, Ivoclar Vivadent), two-step self-etching adhesive (Clearfil SE, Kuraray America), and three-step etch-and-rinse adhesive (Adper Scotchbond Multi-Purpose, 3M ESPE). Fresh composite (Tetric Evo Ceram, Ivoclar) was placed and cured on top of the prepared substrate cylinders. The specimens were placed in distilled water for a week and thermocycled the same way as before. Eight composite control cylinders were also stored and thermocycled for the same period of time. Half of the cylinders in each test group were tested at one month and the second half at 12 months. The cylinders were serially sectioned in an automatic cutting machine, producing 10 to 20 1.1 × 1.1-mm test specimen beam from each cylinder. Specimens were prepared for microtensile testing and the tensile strength calculated based on the force at fracture and specimen dimension. The fracture surfaces were examined under a stereomicroscope and the type of fracture noted.
RESULTS: The mean tensile strength of composite control was 54.5 ± 6.0 MPa at one month and 49.6 ± 5.1 MPa at 12 months. The mean tensile strength for the repaired groups ranged from 26.4 ± 6.8 MPa to 49.9 ± 10.4 MPa at one month and 21.2 ± 9.9 to 41.3 ± 7.5 at 12 months. There was a statistical difference between all groups (p<0.05) at one month. This difference was less pronounced at 12 months. The highest repair strength was obtained in the group having a silane-coated surface and Clearfil, the two-step self-etching adhesive. Clearfil also had the highest repair strength within each surface treatment group. There was a tendency for lower tensile strength at 12 months compared with one month. Most fractures were of the adhesive type; the highest number of cohesive fractures, 16% at one month and 12% at 12 months, were in groups with the highest tensile strength.
CONCLUSION: The best repair bond strength was achieved by using freshly mixed silane solution on the substrate in addition to an adhesive, rendering a thin bonding layer.