Etch-retained restorations

What are etch-retained restorations?

There are certain repairs that require the surface of the tooth to be made slightly rough, so that the adhesive dental material can grip to it properly. This process is called 'etching'. Repairs such as fillings, crowns, veneers, inlays or onlays are all examples of etch-retained restorations, as they need to be attached to the tooth in this way.

What does this treatment involve?

  • Your dentist may numb the area around the tooth, but this is not always necessary
  • Dab some of the etching acid onto the tooth surface that needs to be repaired. This will be left on the tooth for a short time, whilst your mouth is kept open
  • Your dentist will then wash the tooth using a jet of water and the dental nurse will suck the water out of your mouth through a tube
  • They will then dry the tooth and check the surface to ensure that it has been etched sufficiently
  • A 'bonding agent' will then be applied onto the roughened surface area of the tooth, before applying the restoration

What are the benefits of 'etch-retained restorations'?

  • The 'bonding agent' that makes the tooth and the restoration stick together can be very strong, which means that the restoration may stay in place for a long time. Even if the bond did break, it may be possible for the dentist to re-glue the restoration onto the tooth
  • This type of restoration means that it is held in place by the bonding agent and not the shape of the tooth. This can result with less of the natural tooth being lost