Dr Mohammad Hossein Nekoofar
Immediate Past President of Iranian Association of Endodontists
Director of International Relations, Tehran University of Medical Sciences
Honorary Senior Clinical Lecturer, Cardiff University

Effect of Acid‐Etching Procedure on Selected Physical Properties of Mineral Trioxide Aggregate

Aim: To evaluate the effect of acid-etch procedures on the compressive strength and surface microhardness of tooth-coloured mineral trioxide aggregate (MTA). Methodology White ProRoot MTA (Dentsply Tulsa Dental) was mixed and packed into cylindrical tubes of 4 mm in diameter and 6 mm in height. Three groups, each of 15 specimens were subjected to an acid-etch procedure either 4, 24 or 96 h after mixing. The compressive strength was measured and compared with unetched control groups. Differences between groups were analysed using the Kruskall–Wallis test. A further batch of cylindrical specimens of 6 mm in diameter and 12 mm in height were prepared for testing surface microhardness. Three groups of 15 specimens were subjected to the acid-etch procedure at either 4, 24 or 96 h following mixing. Data were subjected to one-way anova. Changes in the surface microstructure before and  after the acid-etch procedures were analysed using a scanning electron microscope (SEM).
Results: There was a general trend for the compressive strength and surface microhardness of specimens to increase with time. In terms of compressive strength, the increase was significant between 4 h and the other time periods for both experimental and control groups (P < 0.0001); however, there was no significant difference between 24 and 96 h. The increase in surface microhardness was significant between 4, 24 and 96 h (P < 0.0001). In addition, there was a significant difference between experimental and control groups at all time periods (P < 0.0001). SEM examination revealed morphological differences between the intact and the etched MTA surfaces.
Conclusions : Acid-etch procedures affected the compressive strength and surface microhardness of ProRoot MTA. This indicates that it may be better to postpone restorative procedures for at least 96 h after mixing MTA. Etching created surface changes that might have the potential to enhance bonding of resinous materials.
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