etching of ceramicAcid etching ceramic restorations prior to bonding is essential in order to create the appropriate surface structure needed to maximize retention of the resin cement.

Frequently the restoration is etched in the laboratory. If the restoration is etched in the laboratory, do not re-etch in the office with 5% HF. Etching a second time is contraindicated. If the ceramic appears white and chalky, it is over etched. When in-office etching is needed, the following protocol should be used to ensure success.

  • Lithium disilicate (e.max): 20 second etch with 5% HF.
  • Leucite ceramic (Empress Esthetic, Authentic, etc.): 60 second etch with 5% HF.
  • Feldspathic ceramic (d.SIGN, Ceramco, etc.): 120 second etch with 9% HF.
  • Zirconia (Lava, Wieland, etc.): Do not etch.

After etching, place the restoration in water and ultrasonically clean for five minutes. Air-dry with oil-free air. Apply silane to the intaglio surface for 60 seconds and then air-dry. Avoid getting silane on the outer aspect of the restoration as it will make resin cement stick to the polished outer surface, increasing the difficulty removing it during clean-up after bonding to the tooth.

If the restoration is tried in intraorally and the intaglio surface is contaminated with saliva, blood, try-in paste, etc., it must be cleaned before final bonding. Use 37% PhO4 for 60 seconds, followed by rinsing and placing in water and ultrasonic for five minutes.

If an alternate method is desired, Ivoclar recently introduced Ivoclean, which has been specifically developed to clean ceramic after intraoral try-in procedures. The intaglio surface is coated with Ivoclean for 20 seconds, rinsed thoroughly with water, and dried with oil-free air.


Commenter's Profile Image Mark Olson
August 15th, 2012
Whats the best way to ultrasonic multiple units at the same time?....any risk of damge placing them together in the same bag/container or should they treated individually?...
Commenter's Profile Image Joseph
August 15th, 2012
What is the etching procedure for Procera restoratons? Thanks.
Commenter's Profile Image Bob Winter
August 15th, 2012
Hi: You can ultrasonic the units together - no special precautions needed. You can not etch Procera (or any Zirconia restorations). Thanks, Bob
Commenter's Profile Image Will Kelly
August 16th, 2012
any problems with ETOH in the ultrasonic?
Commenter's Profile Image Bob Winter
August 16th, 2012
ETOH shouldn't be a problem.
Commenter's Profile Image Andrew Arnouk
August 17th, 2012
Hi Bob, Just to make sure I am clear on what you said. If the lab etched the restoration, and then the restoration was tried in the mouth, that is when you etch with phosphoric acid? To put the question in a different way, even if the restoration was etched in the lab, then tried in the mouth and was contaminated, then you etch with phosphoric acid for 60 seconds. Is that correct. Also when you put it in the ultrasonic, I put it in a ziplok pag with distilled water. Is this a safe approach. Thanks a lot.
Commenter's Profile Image Bob Winter
August 17th, 2012
Hi Andrew, Etching with phosphoric acid does not re-etch the ceramic, it only cleans the restoration. The ziplock bag is a great approach.
Commenter's Profile Image Bruce Grimaldi
July 8th, 2014
Hi Bob- If E-max is over-etched, is there a protocol to treat the restoration to correct it?
Commenter's Profile Image John P.
May 16th, 2016
Use of phosphoric acid to clear a zirconia restoration is not a good idea. The phosphate ion will bond to the zirconia making it a contaminant if using with a primer containing MDP. Better to use Ivoclean (Ivoclar Vivadent) to clean zirconia if priming and bonding is planned.
Commenter's Profile Image Matthew W.
September 15th, 2016
When delivering emax veneers using Rely-X Veneer cement and Scotchbond Universal, is it beneficial/necessary to use Monobond Plus silane on the veneers following Ivoclean and before application of the Sctochbond? Also, is it beneficial to use Consepsis on the tooth following the acid etch and before the application of the Scotchbond? Thanks.