Dentist examining patient
September 24, 2020
Dr. Christopher Thalacker, Head of Adhesives R&D

What You Need to Know About Dental Adhesives

Adhesives are critical to the long term success of a restoration and making the right choice isn’t always easy. If an adhesive can be used for multiple applications and substrates, it not only simplifies and speeds application, but it helps eliminate confusion and ensure consistent results.

Adhesives are critical to the long-term success of any dental restoration – but making the right choice isn’t always easy. Many factors can impact efficiency and retention, from curing method to how many steps are involved, which is why it’s so important for clinicians to stay informed. Take a look at some things to keep in mind when selecting an adhesive.

Adhesives have evolved

From performance to ease of use, dental adhesives have come a long way. Universal adhesives’ faster application time cuts the risk of contamination by blood or saliva and increases the viability of the final restoration. In addition, they can be used in multiple clinical situations as they bond to many different materials, including enamel, dentin, base metal alloys and zirconia ceramic materials.

Universal adhesives can be used for both direct and indirect bonding restorations

Direct restorations, as implied by the name, are performed directly on the prepared tooth or teeth. Tooth-colored composite resin is placed and shaped before curing.

Indirect restorations are created outside of the mouth using dental impressions. This often involves working with a dental laboratory to manufacture the restoration before placement.

Most clinicians use more than one adhesive based on the clinical indication. However, universal adhesives can be used for both procedures – simplifying both processes and streamlining their inventory.

Universal adhesives can use any of the etch types – and still deliver good bonding

In order for an adhesive to bond to the tooth, the surfaces must be roughened using a process called “etching.” There are three different types of etching:

Total Etch – Both enamel and dentin are etched using phosphoric acid.
Selective Etch – Only the enamel is etched with phosphoric acid.
Self-Etch – The etchant, or etching chemical, is contained in the adhesive and no phosphoric acid is used.

The method used depends on the particular clinical situation. Unlike other adhesives, universal adhesives can deliver good bonding regardless of etch technique, while virtually eliminating post-op sensitivity.

Not all universal adhesives are created equal

With so many variables involved, it can be overwhelming to make the right adhesive choice. However, there are a few features to keep in mind when making a selection:

    • Good bond strength
    • Compatible with your technique
    • Can be used for multiple applications
    • Can be used for multiple substrates
    • Long-term clinical success

If an adhesive can be used for multiple applications and substrates, it not only simplifies and speeds application, but it also helps eliminate confusion and ensure consistent results. The more often an adhesive is used, the better it’s understood – giving an entire staff confidence in their restorations.

Thankfully, not only does 3M™ Scotchbond™ Universal Adhesive have all of these features, but unlike many universal adhesives it’s also backed by multiple successful long-term clinical studies – for an adhesive that checks all the boxes.

Discover the 5 things you need to know about adhesives

Dr. Christopher Thalacker

Learn more about Dr. Christopher Thalacker

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