Water is ubiquitous in the mouths of healthy individuals and is a major interfering factor in the development of a durable seal between the tooth and composite restoration. Water leads to the formation of a variety of defects in dentin adhesives; these defects undermine the tooth-composite bond. Our group recently analyzed phase partitioning of dentin adhesives using high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC). The concentration measurements provided by HPLC offered a more thorough representation of current adhesive performance and elucidated directions to be taken for further improvement. The sample preparation and instrument analysis using HPLC are, however, time-consuming and labor-intensive. The objective of this work was to develop a methodology for rapid, reliable, and accurate quantitative analysis of near-equilibrium phase partitioning in adhesives exposed to conditions simulating the wet oral environment. Analysis by Fourier transform infrared (FT-IR) spectroscopy in combination with multivariate statistical methods, including partial least squares (PLS) regression and principal component regression (PCR), were used for multivariate calibration to quantify the compositions in separated phases. Excellent predictions were achieved when either the hydrophobic-rich phase or the hydrophilic-rich phase mixtures were analyzed. These results indicate that FT-IR spectroscopy has excellent potential as a rapid method of detection and quantification of dentin adhesives that experience phase separation under conditions that simulate the wet oral environment.

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