OBJECTIVES: The purpose of this study is to investigate the effect of remaining dentin thickness and the use of a 20% polyalkenoic acid conditioner on the micro-tensile bond strength of a glass-ionomer adhesive to dentin. METHODS: Resin composite was bonded to flat dentin surfaces from 14 extracted human teeth using Fuji BOND LC (GC) with or without a polyalkenoic acid conditioner, then sectioned to thin slabs, trimmed into an hourglass shape with the area of the interface being approximately 1mm(2), and subjected to micro-tensile testing at a cross-head speed of 1mm/min. Micro-tensile bond strengths were determined at three depth levels with a remaining dentin thickness of more than 3mm, between 2 and 3mm, and less than 2mm. Failure modes of the broken interfaces were determined using field-emission scanning electron microscopy. RESULTS: The micro-tensile bond strength to dentin significantly improved when the remaining dentin thickness increased and the conditioner was used. When the conditioner was used (irrespective of remaining dentin thickness), failures mainly occurred adhesively at the interface between the adhesive and resin composite. When no conditioner was used, no adhesive failures between the adhesive and resin composite occurred, but failures occurred mainly adhesively between dentin and the adhesive, or mixed adhesive-cohesively. SIGNIFICANCE: The bonding effectiveness of the glass-ionomer adhesive tested was affected by the area of intertubular dentin available for micro-mechanical retention through hybrid-layer formation. Removal of the smear layer improved the bond strength of the adhesive to dentin.