Purpose: To systematically characterize the effect of time lapse, water storage, and selected contaminants on the bond strength of a nanofilled dental composite. Materials and Methods: Half-dumbbell-shaped samples were fabricated out of light-polymerizing composite resin. To function as substrates they were aged for 30 days in water. Prior to bonding, the substrates surfaces were subjected to the following treatments: 1) Removing a 0.2- to 0.4-mm layer using a fluted carbide bur; 2) grit blasting with 50 μm alumina particles; 3) etching with phosphoric acid gel; 4) grit blasting followed by etching; 5) blasting with tribochemical particles followed by silane application; 6) sanding with 400-grit paper, air aging of the adherent half-sample before bonding; 7) surface contamination with saliva; 8) surface contamination with blood. In each group (n = 30), freshly polymerized (except in group 6) adherent half-samples were bonded to the substrate half-samples by a layer of unfilled adhesive resin. Fifteen full dumbbell-shaped specimens were subjected to tensile testing after 1 h and 15 after 7 days water storage. In a positive control group, freshly cured half-samples were bonded shortly after fabrication. The tensile strength was analyzed using Weibull statistics and presented in terms of the materials characteristic strength and shape parameter. Fractographs of the two weakest and strongest samples of each group were produced. The surfaces were searched to locate hackle, wake hackle and the origin of the fracture. Results: Surface roughness and time lapse increased the bond strength of the repaired specimens. All groups in which surface roughness was produced before bonding increased in repair strength. Post-bonding aging improved strength. Fractographs yielded interpretable data whenever larger surfaces of single phase bonding resin were present. Conclusion: 1) Roughening and etching an aged composites surface prior to applying a coat of unfilled resin and the filled material increases repair bond strength by up to 100%. 2) The repair bond strength of a roughened aged composite is 25% to 30% inferior to the tensile strength of solid specimens. 3) After 7 days storage in water, no detrimental effect could be seen from saliva or blood contamination if the surfaces were properly rinsed.
Keywords: acrylic materials, repair, polymerization, bonding