Much attention has been directed toward producing dentinal adhesives that withstand the forces involved during polymerization shrinkage of composite resins. Studies have shown that an effective dentin-adhesive bond depends on the wetting and penetration characteristics of the dentinal adhesive system and the reactivity of the treated dentinal surface. The structure of the collagen in the demineralized dentinal layer also seems to influence the behavior of the bond. Adhe4sive systems that do not completely denature the fibrous collagen and leave interwoven banded collagen in the demineralized layer produce superior bond strengths (greater than 20 MPa). Other research efforts seek to develop a nonshrinking high-per formance polymer for use as a marix material for dental composite resins. Spiroorthocarbonates that expand during polymerization have been developed. In combination with a three-component epoxy comonomer, matrix resins have been produced that expand during polymerization and whose mechanical properties, water sorption, solubility, and degree of polymerization are acceptable for dental use. Further developments of nonshrinking composite resins and improved dentinal adhesives will greatly increase the longevity of 21st-century composite resin restorations and should significantly ease clinical placement.