Aim: This narrative review aims to present information on current adhesive strategies in operative dentistry and provide details on the status and adhesion potential of universal adhesives.
Background: Adhesive dentistry is a fast-developing field and plays an important role in clinical practice. The new adhesive bonding systems have been developed to simplify and enhance the adhesion between the resin restorative materials and the tooth surface. The bonding mechanisms of these adhesive materials depend on the tooth substrate and the mode of application.
Review results: Increasing demand for simplified adhesive systems and the need to use them in different clinical situations led to the development of new adhesive materials. Multifunctional universal adhesives have been developed in the last decade, becoming an addition to the well-accepted etch-and-rinse and self-etch (SE) adhesives. These adhesives have the versatility to be applied to dental hard tissues with any adhesion strategy and used with direct and indirect restorative materials. However, additional assessments are needed to ensure long-term durability and the versatility of universal adhesives on different surfaces.
Conclusion: Studies have confirmed that universal adhesives provide a better bond strength values and clinical durability with the SE application mode on dentin surfaces. For enamel surfaces, selective enamel etching is recommended to increase adhesive bonding performance.
Clinical significance: Universal adhesives are a promising new class of dental adhesives. However, it is important for clinicians to understand the limitations and correct management of these latest adhesive systems for clinical applications.
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