Clinical Pearls
Irwin Schiff, DDS

Using Self-Etching Adhesive

Irwin Schiff, DDS
New City, NY

Here are step-by-step procedures for bonding orthodontic brackets using Brajen Unibond self-etching orthodontic bonding adhesive by Ortho-byte.

Brajen Unibond is a self-etching, light-cured adhesive orthodontic resin. The kit consists of A and B, a two-part liquid etchant/sealant, as well as four syringes of adhesive paste. The kit can also be purchased with a capsule-and-gun dispensing system. The difference between this and other similar products on the market is that the uncured etchant/sealant has a florescent pink color when applied to the tooth. The advantage to this is that you can see exactly where you are preparing the tooth as well as how much liquid has been placed on the tooth surface. In a cured state, it transforms to a translucent resin similar to other sealants. Self-etching primers do not require rinsing and desiccation of the prepared tooth surface, and slight moisture will not create a weakened bond or failures. The etchant creates a self-limiting chemical reaction that coats the prepared surface of the tooth with methacrylate simultaneously. This enhances the strength of the bond between the resin and enamel.

Do you have a pearl to share with your colleagues? Please send it to along with your headshot and any other pictures you would like to include.
  1. When using self-etching primers, it is necessary to start with a clean surface. Pumicing the tooth surface ensures removal of plaque and increases bond strength. As in any orthodontic bonding, isolation of the tooth is recommended, but an absolute dry surface is not necessary.
  2. Place one drop of Bonding Agent A and Bonding Agent B onto the mixing well. (Two drops of each may be used, depending on the amount needed.) Mix thoroughly and evenly until the mixed bonding agent turns homogeneously pink.
  3. Mix a drop of the A and B liquids, creating a pink etchant/primer. This can be applied to the tooth surface exactly where you are planning to place the bracket. Lightly dab the surface for 5 seconds per tooth. In this instance, less is more. Too much liquid or too thick a coating causes the bracket to creep after placement and prior to curing.
  4. Allow an additional 20 seconds for the uncured resin to properly prepare the tooth surface. This allows the etching process to be completed and lets the methacrylate molecules work their way into the newly prepared surface. However, if you are placing more than one bracket at a time, the time it takes to place the other brackets will be sufficient.
  5. Dispense a small quantity of adhesive composite paste onto each clean bracket base. (You can use metal, plastic, or ceramic.) The paste is syringed out in a fashion similar to other light-cured materials. Use as little composite paste as needed to provide complete coverage of the base.
  6. Immediately after applying the composite paste, lightly place the bracket onto the tooth surface.
  7. Light-cure the bracket for at least 10 seconds, keeping the tip of the curing light within 2 mm of the bracket. If a metal bracket is being used, shine the curing light from the gingival and incisal edges and cure for a minimum of 10 seconds at a minimum power of 800 mW/cm2. If a ceramic or composite bracket is being used, curing may be done directly through the bracket for 20 seconds.
  8. Upon activation, Unibond undergoes a color change and cures to a tooth-colored, translucent resin. Archwires can be placed immediately after bonding of the last bracket.
  9. Brackets can be removed using the same technique you currently employ. Any remaining adhesive can be removed with a scaler.
  10. As with any new material on the market, there is an initial learning curve. Once you get past this, Unibond responds in a similar fashion to your current favorite light-cured material. It is marketed with a bond strength of 22 MPa, making it one of the strongest self-etching materials on the market.