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What Is Adhesive Dentistry?

Adhesive dentistry can save a patient's teeth.
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  • Written By: YaShekia King
  • Edited By: E. E. Hubbard
  • Last Modified Date: 10 November 2014
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Adhesive dentistry involves the use of a sticky material to restore teeth. The branch of dentistry allows an oral healthcare professional to fix tooth problems such as decayed teeth and requires that the individual use a chemical to remove substances that keep the tooth being repaired from remaining clean. When engaging in this type of dental health procedure, professionals also use tools such as suctions to dry the area. This aspect of dentistry is helpful in that it enables people to save their teeth.

Adhesive dentistry includes the use of resin to improve the structure of a person’s tooth. A resin is a thick liquid material that can become hard under the right conditions, such as when a special curing light is directed onto it. This type of dentistry can be helpful for applying a tooth-colored filling to an area of a tooth that has decayed, for filling in chipped areas of teeth, and for fixing the shapes or sizes of teeth to make them more aesthetically pleasing. Medical professionals also use adhesive dentistry to connect brackets to teeth when putting braces on patients or to attach crowns — caps that cover broken-down teeth.

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One way to successfully place an adhesive includes first etching the tooth. Etching in adhesive dentistry is the process of using a chemical such as phosphoric acid to remove debris including plaque from the surface of the tooth to which a dental professional seeks to attach new material. Plaque — the soft substance that builds up on a person’s teeth after he or she eats food — prevents a bonding agent from sticking to the tooth when trying to attach a resin filling or brackets, so etching is very effective.

A variety of methods are available to keep an individual’s mouth clear when working in this dental health field. For instance, a dental assistant can use a high-volume evacuation suction to remove debris such as blood or saliva as well as to dry the area of the tooth to which a resin, bracket, or crown is to be connected. In addition, a professional might use a rubber dam, which is a square-shaped rubber sheet used to isolate a tooth being worked on so that it remains dry.

This specialty area of the oral healthcare field offers benefits. For instance, adhesive dentistry helps to strengthen teeth that are weak or damaged without removing tooth structure, particularly when used to apply a tooth filling or fill in a chipped area. It is a more conservative approach to dealing with compromised teeth than simply extracting them or replacing them with crowns.

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