Contemporary Adhesive Systems and Resin Composites

Category: Dental Materials and Biomaterials, Restorative Dentistry
Author(s): John F. Weston
Target Audience: Dental Assistants, Dental Hygienists, Dentists
Course Topic: Adhesives and Composites
Cost: $29.00
ADA Credits: 2
AGD Credits: 2

Modern restoratives had their beginnings in the 1700s with the introduction of a metal-based direct restorative material, followed by various developments in amalgam restoratives that continued to accelerate during the 20th century. It was not until the latter half of the 20th century that modern tooth-colored direct restorative materials became available. Initially, these were difficult to handle, offered relatively poor esthetics (although not compared to amalgam) and poor physical properties, and were not bonded to tooth structure. 

Educational Objectives

The overall goal of this article is to provide dental professionals with information on direct composite restorative materials and adhesive systems. After completing this course, the reader will be able to:

1. Review the historical development of composite resins and adhesive systems

2. Review the adhesive system options and considerations when selecting a specific method

3. Delineate the different types of composite materials and their relative physical and esthetic properties, as well as factors to consider when selecting an option

4. List and describe the factors involved in the provision of a durable, esthetic composite restoration


Current composite resin restoratives offer strength, esthetics, and the ability to offer patients minimally invasive dentistry when restorations are required. The development of technology and chemistries that enhance strength and esthetics has led to the availability of universal composites that can be used in the anterior esthetic zone as well as in stress-bearing posterior regions. Adhesive systems for composite resins have also been developed with reliable bonding to enamel and dentin with total etch and self-etch options, as well as universal adhesives that can be used for both approaches.

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