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LEGENDS Table of Contents   
Year : 2005  |  Volume : 8  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 43-44
Dr. Michael Buonocore - `Adhesive Dentistry - 1955'

Meenakshi Ammal Dental College, Chennai, India

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How to cite this article:
Babu N V, Joseph R. Dr. Michael Buonocore - `Adhesive Dentistry - 1955'. J Conserv Dent 2005;8:43-4

How to cite this URL:
Babu N V, Joseph R. Dr. Michael Buonocore - `Adhesive Dentistry - 1955'. J Conserv Dent [serial online] 2005 [cited 2023 Dec 7];8:43-4. Available from:
Research is one aspect of dental science that often goes unappreciated. The truth is the factor that has changed dentistry form being a branch that merely `Drills, Fills and Bills' to a respectable profession is the extensive research by the people who have pursued and solved quests on our behalf. One man who tops this list of researchers who has taken dentistry to the status it holds today is Dr. Michael Buonocore the pioneer of `Adhesive Dentistry'.

The use of resins as esthetic restorations was once limited unlike today because of the undesirable results that polymerization shrinkage produced An invention is often preceded by an innovative thought which comes from a deficiency or a need that we encounter in our day to day life and the desire to overcome it. For a man like Buonocore who was born to dedicate his life to dentistry knew what his life(dentistry) was short of and desperately needed.

The answer to most of our questions need not be searched for and answered anew as they already exist. It is the careful scrutiny followed by an unhindered flow of thoughts that follow a simple yet keen observation that leads us to it. Dr.Buonocore noticed that in some industries including the automobile industries used phosphoric acid to treat metal surfaces inorder to obtain better adhesion of the primer to the metal and applied this technique to enhance the adhesion of resin to enamel surfaces.

Dr. Buonocore was employed in the `Eastman Dental Center', Rochester and it was here in the year 1955 that he began exploring this method of adhesion that he hoped to succeed with in a rather simple way. He first treated the enamel surface of an extracted tooth with 85% phosphoric acid for 30 seconds after which he rinsed it. He then placed a mixed acrylic resin drop on this surface, allowed it to dry and placed the tooth in water. He also placed a tooth to which resin was applied without the acid treatment alongside it as control. To his joy he found that the acid treated tooth adhered to the resin for 160 hours compared to the control group to which the resin held itself for just 6 hours. Buonocore proposed that the logic that's behind this improved adhesion was exposing the underlying enamel which he believed had a quite different composition to the surface enamel due to the presence of contaminants (saliva, ions etc) in its tiny imperfections leading to an increase in the surface energy and hence the increased receptiveness to the adhesion of resins.

He even experimented this on people who volunteered and the inference of which told him that he would be remembered forever as the `Pioneer of Adhesive Dentistry' which he just brought into existence. The other achievements of Buonocore were that in theyear1956 he demonstrated that the use of glycerophosphoric acid dimethacrylate containing resin would bond to acid-etched dentin due to the the interaction of this bi-functional resin molecule with the calcium ion of hydroxyapatite. In the year 1963 he even suggested that substances which could displace water from tooth surfaces be incorporated into the adhesives. In the late 1960's Buonocore claimed that it was the formation of resin tags that caused the principal adhesion of reins to the acid etched enamel and it was in the year 1967 that he introduced the composite or filled resins which depend on microscopic particles of glass or quartz in-corporated into the resin base.

Buonocore published his new technique for increasing the adhesion of acrylic resin to enamel surface in the Journal of Dental Research in the year 1955 titled 'A simple method of increasing the adhesion of acrylic filling material to enamel surface'. The other important publications of Dr. Buonocore include 'Enamel surface in "White­Spot" formation'(J Dent Res 42(2): 724-731, 1963) and `Dissolution Rates of Enamel and Dentin in Acid' (JDent Res 40(3): 561-570, 1961). 'American Academy of Dental Research' even today awards degree students for outstanding scientific merit among presentations with the 'Buonocore Award'. Their annual meeting was held at on Thursday, June 9, 2005 at the Eastman Dental Center and it was none other than Mrs.Buonocore herself who presented the award.

Is Dr. Michael Buonocore a legend?. Lets make the answer to this simple. Imagine the world today without adhesive dentistry -"People smiling with cast gold restorations in their anterior teeth instead of the composite restoration or having discolored teeth as the ceramic laminates could not be bonded, a school boy walking past covering his malaligned teeth without the naughty smile he should be bearing at his age as his orthodontist couldn't bond brackets to his teeth, an unlucky man who had his mobile anterior tooth pulled out because the periodontists couldn't splint it or a day where the word Maryland bridge just remained a myth to the prosthdontists". Buonocore gave dentistry 'Adhesion' and a ' Beautiful Smile' and what more could one ask for, surely a legend he is.

Correspondence Address:
N Venkatesh Babu
Meenakshi Ammal Dental College, Chennai
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

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