South West Implant Centre

Etch-Retained Restorations.

Teeth with fillings and etch preparation. What are they?

Many of the newer dental materials are 'adhesive', which means that they stick or 'bond' to the teeth.

The surface of the tooth needs to be made slightly rough so that the repair - the 'restoration' - can grip properly. This is called 'etching' - a harmless mild acid is used.

'Etch-retained resotorations' are any repairs attached to the tooth in this way - either fillings, crowns, veneers, inlays or onlays.

What does the dentist do?

    • Sometimes the tooth will be numbed, but this is not always needed;
    • After shaping the tooth, the etching acid is dabbed onto the tooth surface that needs to be roughenend;
    • The acid is left on the tooth for a short time while you keep your mouth open;
    • The tooth is then washed very thoroughly with a jet of water, which is sucked out of your mouth through a tube held by the dental nurse;
    • The tooth is then dried and the surface checked. It might need to be etched again, in the same way;
    • The 'bonding agent' - a sort of glue - is then painted oto the roughenend area, before filling the tooth or applying some other sort of restoration.

What are the benefits?

    • The bond between the tooth and the restoration can be very strong so that the restoration stays in place for a long time;
    • Even if the bond breaks, it may be possible to re-glue the restoration in place;
    • Because restorations are held in place by the bonding agent and not just by the shape of the tooth, less of the natural tooth is lost.
A Centre of Excellence in Dentistry


South West
Implant Centre,

37 Badminton Road,
Bristol BS16 6BP


07731 579 726



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