Submicron hiati in acid-etched dentin are artifacts of desiccation
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OBJECTIVES: The submicron hiatus represents a potential space between the base of the collagen network and the mineralized dentin when dentin is acid-etched for bonding. These spaces were observed in SEM studies after acid-etched dentin specimens were critical point dried or dehydrated in hexamethyldisilasane. However, they have never been identified in TEM studies of dentin hybrid layers. This study critically examined the cause of submicron hiati formation using a silver staining technique to measure nanoleakage. METHODS: Two multi-step, total-etch adhesives (One-Step, Bisco; Single Bond, 3M) and two single-step, self-etching adhesives (Prompt L-Pop, ESPE; One-Up Bond F, Tokuyama) were examined. Flat dentin surfaces were bonded with these adhesives and a lining composite. In each adhesive group, 0.8mm thick slabs from the same bonded tooth were coated with nail varnish applied 1mm from the bonded interfaces. The varnish was either left to dry completely for 10min before immersing in 50wt% silver nitrate (AgNO(3)) for 24h (group D), or painted on blotted tooth slabs that were immediately dropped into the AgNO(3) solution (group M). After developing, undemineralized, unstained, epoxy resin-embedded sections were prepared for transmission electron microscopy (TEM) to identify the amount and distribution of silver uptake. RESULTS: Nanoleakage patterns were observed in all adhesive-bonded teeth, regardless of brand. Fine reticular silver deposits were also found in the underlying undemineralized dentin. In group D, submicron hiati were seen as tunnels of heavy silver deposits beneath hybrid layers. Specifically, a hiatus occurred between the undemineralized intertubular dentin and a cohesively fractured layer of the same matrix that was attached to the base of the hybrid layer. Hiati were completely absent in group M, regardless of the brand of adhesive. SIGNIFICANCE: Submicron hiati are artifacts created by desiccation during specimen processing, and should be referred to as such in future studies of bonded dentin interfaces.