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Exploring today's cements

Sept. 1, 2004
Imust admit, it was a little difficult, at first, to get excited about a column on dental cements.

Imust admit, it was a little difficult, at first, to get excited about a column on dental cements. That was until I began researching the new products that have been introduced, or those that have been improved over the last several years. Remember the days of messy dispensing, mixing, and clean-up of powders and liquids? The good news is that most of the cements used for provisional or permanent restorations now come in paste form, some in tubes for hand-mixing and some in auto-mix cartridges, and even in unit-dose packages. Let’s take a look at some of these great products and the benefits they offer to us and our patients.

When researching products for use with provisional restorations, I look for a product that is compatible with all types of provisional materials. My selection would most likely to be a non-eugenol-containing cement, since eugenol can cause softening of acrylic provisional materials, and residue from eugenol-containing cement can interfere with the bonding of the permanent restoration if a resin cement is used.

In addition to the product compatibility, the other characteristic I look for is ease of use. Is the product easy to dispense and mix? Table 1 is a listing of commonly available products and highlights some of the characteristics of each one.

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Product selection for temporary cements is relatively simple, especially since one product may meet all or most of the needs for provisional restorations. Selecting products for luting or cementing permanent restorations is more complex, due to the wide variety of materials and techniques for permanent restorations. Awareness of the various products and their characteristics helps in understanding the doctor’s preferences for using certain types of cements with particular types of restorations.

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Luting cements, those used to cement permanent restorations such as crowns, bridges, inlays, and onlays, fall into several categories. Zinc phosphate and zinc polycarboxylate (e.g. Durelon from 3M ESPE) have been available for many years, but newer glass ionomer, resin, resin-modified glass ionomer, and compomer (composite and glass ionomer) cements have become more popular in recent years. These newer cements have been shown to provide greater bond strength and lower solubility than the zinc phosphate and polycarboxylate cements. In addition, glass ionomer cements are fluoride-releasing, which may be helpful if marginal leakage occurs. Table 2 is a representative list of available resin and glass ionomer luting cements.

Take a look at these and other cements that are available. You may find a product that provides better results for your patients and is easier to use. Be sure, however, that any time you try a new product, you carefully and thoroughly read the directions for use. Also, consult the product manufacturer’s local representative and/or Web site for additional instructions and time-saving tips for using the product.

Author’s Note: As always, this column is not meant to be a comprehensive product review.

Mary Govoni is a Certified and Registered Dental Assistant and a Registered Dental Hygienist, with over 28 years of experience in the dental profession as a chairside assistant, office administrator, clinical hygienist, educator, consultant, and speaker. She is the owner of Clinical Dynamics, a consulting company dedicated to the enhancement of the clinical and communication skills of dental teams. She can be reached at [email protected].