The aim of this study was to compare the effects of various porcelain surface-conditioning techniques, used either alone or in combination, on the shear bond strength (SBS) of ceramic brackets cured with a light emitting diode (LED). Thirty glazed porcelain facets were randomly divided into three groups of 10. In group I, the porcelain surfaces were etched with 9.6 per cent hydrofluoric acid (HFA) for 2 minutes before silane application, in group II, the porcelain surfaces were sandblasted with aluminium oxide particles, etched with 9.6 per cent HFA for 2 minutes, and silane applied, and in group III, the porcelain surfaces were sandblasted with aluminium oxide particles before silane application. Spirit ceramic brackets were bonded with a light-cured composite resin (Light Bond) and a LED. All specimens were stored in distilled water at 37°C for 24 hours and thermocycled. Bond strength was determined in shear mode at a crosshead speed of 0.5 mm/minute until fracture occurred. Analysis of variance indicated a significant difference between groups (P < 0.001). The lowest SBS was found in group III (5.46 ± 1.34, P < 0.001). No significant difference was found between group I (11.38 ± 1.65) and group II (10.45 ± 1.15; P > 0.05). Surface treatment with HFA and a silane coupling agent produced the highest bond strength. Sandblasting before HFA and silane application did not significantly increase bond strength. Silane application to sandblasted porcelain provided poor results in vitro and clinical trials are needed to determine its reliability for bonding ceramic brackets to ceramic crowns.
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