Journal of Dental Research vol:86 issue:7 pages:656-661
Ionic bonding between polyalkenoic acid and hydroxyapatite may explain the excellent bonding retention of glass-ionomers in clinical trials. We have here investigated the extent to which the self-adhesiveness of resin-modified glass-ionomers (RMGIs) can be attributed to this chemical bonding capacity. Therefore, the interaction of 3 RMGIs with tooth substrates was comprehensively characterized, with electron and atomic force microscopy correlated with x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS). Interfacial ultrastructural analysis for 2 RMGIs disclosed a shallow hybridization of hydroxyapatite-coated collagen, on which a submicron gel phase was deposited through reaction of the polyalkenoic acid with calcium extracted from the dentin surface. One RMGI, however, bonded to dentin without hybrid layer or gel phase formation. XPS indicated that polycarboxylic acids included in the RMGIs electrostatically interacted with hydroxyapatite. We conclude that the self-adhesiveness of RMGIs should be attributed to ionic bonding to hydroxyapatite around collagen, and to micro-mechanical interlocking for those RMGIs that additionally hybridize dentin.