Does My Family Dentist Really Have To Etch My Teeth For Bonding?

I don’t want my enamel touched at all. My family dentist said he has to etch my teeth for dental bonding. Is this something I can avoid if I see another dentist? Thanks Melanie

Dental bonding, or cosmetic bonding, can be used to lengthen or shape teeth, conceal stains in them, or to restore teeth that are chipped or cracked. Etching your teeth is a necessary step of dental bonding. The etching is microscopic and roughens the enamel so the bonding will adhere to it. If it’s not done, decay can get between the cosmetic bonding and your tooth, and the bonding will eventually fall off and need to be redone. Repeating the bonding process is something that you want to avoid; etching helps to avoid it.

Teeth can be etched with a dental tool, phosphoric acid, or both, depending on each patient’s case. Etching removes a microscopically thin layer of enamel, yet roughens the enamel enough for successful bonding.

A skilled cosmetic dentist knows that etching should be done very conservatively. Over-etching can demineralize tooth dentin (layer just beneath the enamel) and actually reduce the strength of the dental bonding and make it difficult for the bonding to adhere to the tooth.

We suggest that you speak with your family dentist to learn more about the method he uses for etching. You an express your concerns and ask questions to learn more about the minimal about of enamel that needs to be removed for the bonding to adhere to your tooth. If you still have reservations, consider receiving a second opinion from an experienced cosmetic dentist who will provide you with more information. Regardless of the provider you choose, etching will be included in the bonding process. You will decide which provider you trust to give you the most conservative treatment and long-lasting, natural-looking results.

This post is sponsored by Dr. Ralph Stanley, Dr. Magdalena Azzarelli, and Dr. Rogé Jacob of Hillsdale Dental Care.

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