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Am J Orthod Dentofacial Orthop. 1990 Aug;98(2):154-60.

Effects of phosphoric acid concentration and etch duration on enamel depth of etch: an in vitro study.

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University of Alabama School of Dentistry, Birmingham.


In a previous study we reported no significant differences among the shear bond strengths resulting from the application of an orthodontic bonding resin to enamel surfaces etched with three phosphoric acid (H3PO4) concentrations, each for three etch durations. The objective of the current study was to determine the depths of etch on ground enamel surfaces exposed to the nine etching procedures. The facial surfaces of 45 extracted human maxillary permanent central incisors were ground wet on 600-grit silicon carbide paper. Annular adhesive disks of 6 mm outer diameter and 3 mm inner diameter were positioned on the ground enamel surfaces and etched with 10 mm3 of 37%, 15%, and 5% H3PO4 for 60, 30, and 15 seconds, respectively. The calcium concentrations of the etching solutions were determined and the depths of etch calculated. The depths of etch were then measured with a surface profilometer. A stepwise decrease in the calculated depths of etch with decreasing acid concentration and duration of etching was obtained. The calculated etch depths ranged from 27.1 microns by etching with 37% H3PO4 for 60 seconds to 3.5 microns by etching with 5% H3PO4 for 15 seconds. The measured depths of etch followed a similar pattern. A highly significant correlation between calculated and measured depths of etch was obtained.

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