Dental adhesives of the future

Franklin R. Tay, David H. Pashley

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

116 Scopus citations


The current trend in the development of dentin adhesives attempts to simplify bonding steps and make them more user-friendly. However, optimizing speed and efficiency should be accomplished without major tradeoffs in the quality or durability of resin bonds. Although dentin adhesives have improved tremendously over the past decade, postoperative sensitivity, incomplete marginal seal, premature bond degradation, biocompatibility, and compromised bonding to abnormal substrates are still considered potential problems associated with their use. Advances in different scientific disciplines will enrich the pool from which ideas may be drawn in designing future dentin adhesives. It is probably on the molecular level that we will see the greatest expansion of horizons. With the advances in biomimetics, future dentin adhesive monomers may contain domains derived from protein-based, underwater bioadhesives secreted by aquatic animals such as mussels and barnacles, making them less dependent on the surface energy of the bonding substrates as well as less susceptible to hydrolytic degradation. As adhesive joints produced by contemporary adhesives are brittle in nature, future adhesive design may incorporate biomimetic intermediate-strength domains that can undergo stepwise reversible unfolding in response to varying functional stress levels before ultimate catastrophic failure of the adhesive joint occurs. These domains may also re-establish folded configurations on stress relaxation, making the adhesive both strong and tough. Using the concept of controlled release, future adhesives may contain fluorescent biosensors that can detect pH changes around leaking restorations. They may even have the capacity to heal autonomously, in response to microcracks formed by functional stresses within the adhesive joint. The ability to self-diagnose and self-repair will increase the life expectancy of adhesive restorations. Future dentin adhesives may also assume a more instrumental role in therapeutics apart from caries prevention. These features may include the controlled release of noncollagenous proteins to promote remineralization of collagen matrices in sound and caries affected dentin, and growth factors to induce controlled formation of reparative dentin.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)91-103
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Adhesive Dentistry
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthodontics
  • Oral Surgery
  • Periodontics


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