Arginine-Containing Dental Adhesive to Reduce the Risk of Secondary Caries

Technology #15558

Increases Lifetime of Composite Dental Restorations While Maintaining Comparable Bond Strength and Durability to Other Adhesives

This arginine-containing dental adhesive was developed to increase the lifespan of composite dental restorations by reducing the risk of secondary caries. Secondary caries is recurrent tooth decay that occurs in the microcracks at the margins of dental restorations after a filling has aged, and is a significant cause of composite restoration failure. The replacement of failed composites accounts for 75 percent of operative dental work. Composite restorations have become increasingly popular because of their more natural look; however, there is a higher rate of secondary caries and subsequent adhesive failure associated with composite restorations. Researchers at the University of Florida have developed a bonding agent that slowly releases arginine to help promote a microenvironment less favorable to caries-causing bacteria at the tooth-composite interface. This adhesive should reduce the incidence and severity of secondary caries and therefore increase the lifetime of composites while reducing patient’s costs associated with future operative work.


Arginine-containing adhesive to increase the lifespan of composite dental restorations by reducing the risk of secondary caries


  • Decreases incidence of secondary caries, lengthening lifespan of composite restorations
  • Reduces patient’s need for future operative work, lowering lifetime costs to patients
  • Contains arginine, a naturally-occurring amino acid that can be degraded by certain oral bacteria to produce ammonia that raises the local pH, favoring healthy versus caries-causing bacteria


Secondary caries, a form of tooth decay, is commonly associated with composite dental restorations when the crevices created by the biodegradation of the interface between the tooth and the adhesive layer are colonized by caries-associated bacteria. These bacteria produce acid that damages the tooth adjacent to the restoration, necessitating replacement. Attempts to eliminate colonization of the crevices by microbes have proven ineffective. The arginine-containing adhesive is based on an alternative approach. Arginine can be metabolized by certain bacteria into ammonia. This ammonia promotes a neutral pH in the microenvironments of tooth-composite interface, which is less favorable to the growth of acid-producing bacteria. Thus, the arginine-containing adhesive reduces caries risk while offering the same durability and bond strength as non-arginine-containing adhesives.