The formation of a superficial layer of tiny flakes has been observed on teeth prepared by Erbium lasers. It has been suggested that removing this layer (mechanically or chemically) may increase the bond strength of the resin composite. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the effect of various etching times on bond strength of resin composite to enamel and dentin prepared by Er,Cr:YSGG laser. Sixty previously flattened human molars were irradiated for 10 s by an Er,Cr:YSGG laser. Enamel (E) specimens were etched with 37% H 3PO4 for 20, 40 or 60 s and dentin (D) specimens were etched for 15 or 30 s. All specimens were prepared for a standard shear bond strength (SBS) test (1 mm/min). Data were analyzed [ANOVA, Tukey post-hoc, a<0.05)] and the failure mode was studied under SEM. Mean SBS±sd (MPa) for each group was 16.97±7.77 (E20s), 21.34±3.55 (E40s), 14.08±4.77 (E60s), 13.62±7.28 (D15s) and 13.15±6.25 (D30s). SBSfor E40s was significantly higher than E60s (p=0.023). No difference was noted between the dentin groups. SEM evaluation showed predominantly cohesive failure. Within the limits of this study, etching time significantly influenced the SBS of composite resin to laser-prepared enamel. SEM showed subsurface cracks, fissures, and deformities leading to predominantly cohesive failure in both enamel and dentin. © Springer-Verlag London Limited 2009.