The hybrid layer created in caries-affected dentin has not been fully elucidated and may influence bond durability. This study investigated the nanoleakage patterns of caries-affected dentin after excavation with Carisolv or conventional instruments treated with one of three adhesive systems. Flat occlusal dentin surfaces, including carious lesions, were prepared from extracted human molars and finished with wet 600-grit silicon carbide paper. Carious dentin was removed with Carisolv or round steel burs in conjunction with Caries Detector. PermaQuik, Single Bond or One-Up Bond F was bonded to the excavated dentin surfaces and adjacent flat occlusal surfaces and it was covered with Silux Plus resin-based composite. After 24-hour storage in 37 degrees C water, the bonded interfaces were polished to remove flash, and the surrounding tooth surfaces were coated with nail varnish. Specimens were immersed in 50% (w/v) silver nitrate solution for 24 hours, exposed to photo developing solution for eight hours, then sectioned longitudinally through the bonded, excavated dentin or "normal" dentin surfaces. The sectioned surfaces were polished, carbon coated and observed in a Field Emission-SEM using back scattered electrons. Silver deposition occurred along the base of the hybrid layer for all specimens. However, Single Bond showed a greater density of silver deposition in the caries-affected dentin compared with normal dentin. PermaQuik had a thicker hybrid layer in caries-affected dentin than normal dentin. One-Up Bond F exhibited a thin hybrid layer in normal dentin, but the hybrid layer was often difficult to detect in caries-affected dentin.