Objectives: The objective of this study was to report on a novel phenomenon that occurs when resin-modified glass-ionomer cements (RMGICs) are bonded to moist human dentine.
Methods: Dentine surfaces from extracted third molars were abraded with 180-grit SiC paper. Ten teeth were prepared for each of the two RMGICs tested (Fuji II LC, GC Corp. and Photac-Fil Quick, 3M ESPE). RMGIC buildups were made according to the manufacturers' instructions. After storage at 37 degrees C, 100% humidity for 24 h, the bonded specimens were cut occlusogingivally into 0.9 x 0.9 mm beams. Dentine surfaces bonded with the two RMGICs were examined along the fractured RMGIC/dentine interfaces. Additional beams fractured within the RMGICS and at 3 mm away from the interfaces were used as controls. The fractured beams were examined using scanning electron microscopy (SEM), field emission-environmental SEM (FE-ESEM) and transmission electron microscopy (TEM).
Results: SEM and FE-ESEM revealed numerous solid spherical bodies along the RMGIC/dentine interfaces. By contrast, no spherical bodies could be identified within the RMGIC fractured 3 mm distant from the bonded interface. TEM and energy dispersive X-ray analyses performed on carbon-coated ultrathin sections showed that these solid spherical bodies consisted of a thin aluminum and silicon-rich periphery and an amorphous hydrocarbon core within the air voids of the original resin matrix.
Conclusion: The spherical bodies probably represent a continuation of GI reaction and poly(HEMA) hydrogel formation that results from water diffusion from the underlying moist dentine. Their existence provides evidence for the permeation of water through RMGIC/dentine interfaces.