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Smear layer: Adherent debris produced when cutting the enamel or dentin in cavity preparation. It is about 1 micron thick and its composition reflects the underlying dentin, although different quantities and qualities of smear layer can be produced by the various instrumentation techniques. Its function is presumed to be protective, as it lowers dentin permeability. However, it masks the underlying dentin and interferes with attempts to bond dental material to the dentin.
Source: MeSH 2007
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