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Co-cure To Increase Composite Bond Strength

According to Dr John Kanca DDS, if you co-cure the adhesive with the flowable composite or packable composite, it will result in increased bond strength. That is in stark contrast to how most dentists will light cure each layer individually.

Valo grand curing light

The co-curing technique

Regardless of what bonding you're using and also what composite you're using, this technique can still be implemented. Although you do need to clean out the cavity first prior to implementing this technique.

Excavated decay on molar
Excavated decay on molar

How to do it:

  1. Apply your conditioner and primer.

  2. Apply the adhesive or bonding layer but DO NOT LIGHT CURE.

  3. Place flowable composite directly into the adhesive.

  4. Light cure for specified amount of time.

  5. Now you can place your packable composite like you usually do.

As per Dr Kanca, doing it this way helps to increase the bond strength when compared to curing the adhesive and composite separately. He had studies on it back when apexdental still had a functioning forum but it has since merged with Vista to become Vista Apex.

Additional benefit

Aside from the extra bonding strength, co-curing the two layers together also produces a more radiopaque layer on the pulpal floor.

Co-cured adhesive with flowable x-ray
Co-cured adhesive with flowable x-ray

The x-ray above shows what it can look like when Simplicity adhesive is co-cured with Titan flowable composite. The bottom most pulpal layer has a distinct radiopaque layer.

We mention this because most adhesives are radiolucent.

  • If your bonding layer is too thick, it may show up as a thick radiolucent line.

  • The thick radiolucent line can be mistaken as recurrent decay.

  • Therefore, doing it this way eliminates that ambiguity.


If you co-cure the adhesive with the first composite layer, it will help increase the bonding strength of the restoration. That results in a stronger and more stable composite filling.

The co-curing is how we bond in the first layer for all composites and that includes core buildups. Yes, we even use this technique prior to placing all of the core buildup material!

Our dentists in Long Island City been doing this for many years now with a lot of success. If you come in for a dental filling you can rest assured that we will try to give it the strongest bond strength as possible.


David Chen 200 x 200.jpg

About the author: Dr David Chen, DDS

Hello, I'm Dr Chen and I'm an actively practicing dentist in Long Island City, NY. I graduated from Columbia University College of Dental Medicine in 2016 but prior to going to dental school I was already working in the dental field. It's been more than a decade since I first got to know dentistry and let me tell you, time flies by quickly. Since then I've developed a fondness for writing, which is how this all got started!

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Medical Disclaimer:

This blog is purely meant for information purposes and should not be used as medical advice. Each situation in your mouth is unique and complex. It is not possible to give advice nor diagnose any oral conditions based on text nor virtual consultations. The best thing to do is to go in person to see your dentist for an examination and consultation so that you can receive the best care possible.

The purpose of all of this oral health information is to encourage you to see your dentist and to inform you of what you may expect during your visit. Due to the unfortunate nature of dentistry, there isn't really any true home remedies that will get rid of dental problems. Roughly 99.99% of them require in-person intervention by a healthcare professional.

Hint: That is the reason why you can't eliminate seeing dentists in your life!

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