Purpose: To correlate the microtensile bond strength (μTBS) of dentin bonding agents to dentin for different hourglass designs with the stress distribution across the adhesive interface utilizing finite element stress analysis (FEA). Materials and Methods: Adper Scotchbond Multipurpose Plus dentin bonding agent was bonded to flat dentin surfaces in three experimental groups. A 5- to 6-mm layer of resin composite (Filtek Supreme, 3M ESPE) was built up incrementally. After 24 h water storage at 37°C, the bonded teeth were sectioned into hourglass designs of circular, parabolic, and spline shape, with a ca 1 mm2 cross-sectional area at the bonded interface (n = 30). The specimens were subjected to μTBS testing at a crosshead speed of 0.5 mm/min. The fracture surfaces were examined under SEM to determine the modes of failure. FEA models were constructed using the TOMECH program. A load of 100 N was applied and the stresses at the bonded interfaces were viewed using the FEMSYS visualization software. Results: One-way ANOVA, Tukeys and Kaplan-Meier tests revealed significant differences in the μTBS for the three designs: 36.7 ± 8.4, 21.4 ± 7.9 and 13.8 ± 4.3 MPa, for the circular, parabolic, and spline hourglass, respectively (p < 0.05). FEA stress distribution data in the adhesive layer showed significant differences among the three designs, which is consistent with the bond strength values. The spline hourglass design showed a three-fold increase in the local stress concentration at its narrowest cross section. Conclusion: The specimen geometry greatly influences the measurement of the μTBS. The results are consistent with the FEA predictions.
Keywords: microtensile bond strength, hourglass design, FEA, dentin bonding agents