Repairing Composite Defects


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Repairing a strong bond doesn't have to be tough. Check out this technique to remedy surface defects by Corky Willhite, DDS, FAAACD.

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  • @DanileLarose Thanks!! :)
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  • Hi Momina, I can answer your question if you wish: a thin layer of unfilled resin (like COMPLETE from Cosmedent) is applied but NOT cured. Then, the compsite is applied. The unfilled resin is composite without the particles. Since no natural tooth is exposed, as this repair is in composite only, you do not need the adhesive. Unfilled resin will blend the two layers of composite together seamlessly. I have done this many times with great success
    Dr Danièle Larose , montreal, Canada
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  • To be clear, the etch is washed away, the area is dried, and the composite is then placed - without any bonding material between the old composite and the that correct?
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Repairing Composite Defects

  1. 1. Techniques to Remedy Surface DefectsSimple, Successful Composite RepairsCorky Willhite, DDS, FAGD, AACD Accredited FellowIllustrations by Zach Turner
  2. 2. When patients present with esthetic composite restorations requiringrepair, or if defects are detected during the direct restorative process, a simple technique for repairing composite defects is invaluable. Thisbasic technique can be varied slightly to correct composite defects at a couple of different points in the restorative process: initial placement and post-treatment. These procedures can remedy defects involving pits and voids,fractures, white lines, and improper contouring. Key to this technique’ssuccess is ensuring that the repair is completed prior to any polishing ifthe procedure is to be accomplished during the initial fabrication of therestoration. If the surface has already been polished, added composite will not bond to the surface. Therefore, it will be necessary to roughen the composite surface in order to repair the composite defect.
  3. 3. Additionally, for the post-treatment repair of microhybrid and nanohybrid restorations more than one day old, a micro-etching sandblast should be applied to the defective area prior to etching with 35% phosphoricacid. For microfill repairs, this author does not recommend sandblasting. Because the microfill composites contain such small and uniform particles, micro-etching decreases the mechanical retention created by the bur marks. Adapted from the full article, which originally appeared in the AACD’s Journal of Cosmetic Dentistry, Fall 2010 issue. For more information, visit
  4. 4. Close-up view showing two defects on tooth #9.Close-up view of a four-and-a-halfyear old composite restoration ontooth #9 that presented with astained void.
  5. 5. Repairing a composite defect willrequire roughening the compositesurface.
  6. 6. Use a large, round, fine-grit diamondbur on the surface of the restoration.The bur should only engage deepenough to make a saucer-shapedpreparation.
  7. 7. A beveled margin is desired. If the defect extends deeper into the saucer-shaped preparation,use a smaller round bur to deepen only that area.
  8. 8. Etch the preparation to clean debris and apply a thin layer of unfilled resin, but do not cure at this time.Place and sculpt the composite, withoutover-bulking it, then light-cure.
  9. 9. Contour the repair to mimic thenatural dentition. After contouring therepair, complete a final polish ofthe restoration to achieve estheticand functional success.
  10. 10. Close-up view of the repair to correct the defects and the stained void shown below.
  11. 11. To receive the quarterly, peer-reviewed Journal of Cosmetic Dentistry, become an AACD member at