The objective of this article was to investigate the effect of carbide and polymer burs caries removal methods on the bond strength of different adhesives to dentin. Resin restorations were performed in sound and caries-affected dentin, after using polymer or carbide burs and bonding with four different adhesive (Single bond, SB; Clearfil SE bond, SEB; FL-Bond II, FLB; and Fuji II-LC, FUJI). Microtensile bond strength (MTBS) was measured. Data were analyzed with ANOVA and Student-Newman-Keuls tests. Debonded surfaces were observed by scanning electron microscopy. Bonded interfaces were examined using light microscopy (Masson's trichrome staining). In sound dentin, MTBS was similar for SEB and SB, and higher than that of FLB and FUJI. Bond strength to carbide bur prepared dentin was similar for SB, SEB, and FLB; FUJI presented the lowest. SB applied on polymer bur excavated dentin presented similar values to those of the carbide bur group; MTBS attained by SEB, FLB, and FUJI decreased when bonding to dentin treated with polymer burs; FUJI yielded pretesting failures in all specimens. Polymer burs created a thick smear layer that was not infiltrated by tested self-etching agents. The bonding effectiveness of self-etching and glass-ionomer-like adhesives to dentin decreased when polymer burs were used.