Journal of Dental Research vol:86 issue:8 pages:739-44
Contemporary one-step self-etch adhesives are often documented with interfacial droplets. The objective of this study was to research the origin of these droplets. Two HEMA-rich and one HEMA-free adhesive were applied to enamel and dentin, with the lining composite either immediately cured or cured only after 20 min. All one-step adhesives exhibited droplets at the interface; however, the droplets had two different origins. With the HEMA-free adhesives, droplets were located throughout the adhesive layer and were stable in number over time. With the HEMA-rich adhesives, the droplets were observed exclusively at the adhesive resin/composite interface, and their number increased significantly when the composite was delay-cured. Only the latter droplets caused a significant drop in bond strength after delayed curing. While the droplets in the HEMA-free one-step adhesives should be ascribed to phase separation, those observed with HEMA-rich adhesives resulted from water absorption from dentin through osmosis.