Purpose: While it has been shown that no method produces specimens with exactly the same cross-sectional bonded area (BA), BA variations within and between studies are a well-known covariate in microtensile test results. However, no method has yet been described to accurately account for its influence. A procedure is presented that allows controlling for variations of BA effects on results. Further, a proposal for reporting is presented which enables results of different studies to be compared.
Materials and Methods: Partially using the results of the report in which the microtensile test was originally described, 144 both general (caused by differences in BA) and specific (due to a materials performance differences and intrinsic biological variability of specimens) variabilities were separated through linear regression of microtensile (MPa) to BA (mm2) pooled results. Comparing the specific variability of specimens - the residuals to the regression line - of groups allowed assessing differences between groups.
Results: A means comparison of residuals showed that specific differences were significant (t-test, p = 0.0004). The null hypothesis could be rejected: materials performances were different. This could not be determined in the original report, since BA variability was very high. A proposal for reporting of results to facilitate their clinical interpretation and comparison between studies is presented.
Conclusion: Controlling for general variability caused by differences in BA size allows precise comparison of microtensile tests results.
Keywords: microtensile bond strength, bonded area, dental adhesion, dentin, enamel