The mechanism responsible for sodium-hypochlorite-induced reduction in dentin bond strength and its reversal with reducing agents is unknown. This study examined the relationship between nanoleakage and reversal of compromised bonding to oxidized dentin. Acid-etched dentin was completely depleted of demineralized collagen matrix when sodium hypochlorite was used. Specimens were bonded with two single-bottle dentin adhesives. They were immersed in ammoniacal silver nitrate for 24 hrs before being processed for transmission electron microscopy. For both adhesives, tensile bond strengths of acid-etched dentin were significantly reduced after sodium hypochlorite treatment, but were reversed when sodium ascorbate was used. After sodium hypochlorite application, reticular nanoleakge patterns in hybrid layers were replaced by vertical, shag-carpet-like patterns along the demineralization front. This type of nanoleakage was completely eliminated after sodium ascorbate treatment with the materials tested. Residual sodium hypochlorite within the porosities of mineralized dentin may result in incomplete resin polymerization, and hence compromised bond strength.
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