The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effects of the total-etch and direct pulp capping techniques on the short-term response of mechanically exposed human primary tooth pulps using three commercially available adhesive resin systems. Class V cavities were prepared on the buccal surface of intact mandibular primary molars and exposed with a carbide bur on the cavity floor. The entire cavity except the exposure site received 36% phosphoric acid gel conditioning. Exposed pulps were capped with one of the three adhesive resins, followed by restoration of the cavities with the respective restorative materials. The teeth were extracted after 60 days and prepared according to normal histological techniques. Serial sections were stained with H/B for histological evaluations. The histopathological evaluation showed that a few of the samples in the Scotchbond Multi Purpose (SMP) and Prime & Bond 2.1 (PB) groups exhibited "attempted bridge formation", while no bridge formation was evident in the other samples. Syntac Single Component (Syntac) exhibited the most severe histological response, while the mildest reactions were observed in the SMIP group. Based on the conditions of the present study, direct pulp capping with dentin bonding agents following the total-etch technique in primary teeth can not be recommended.