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Glass Ionomer Filling Cement for Teeth

What is glass ionomer filling?

Glass ionomer cement is a tooth-colored restorative material (filling) used in dentistry. The cement is known as glass ionomer because the powder contains glass particles and the cement forms ionic bonds with the tooth structure. The filling is a type of adhesive cement which bonds to the tooth structure chemically and therefore provides an excellent adaptation to the tooth surface. The cement is also known as polyalkenoate cement, GIC and ASPA (alumino silicate polyacrylic acid).

Advantages of glass ionomer fillings

The advantages of glass ionomer cements include the ease to handle and manipulate the material. The cavity preparation requires removal of all caries in theenamel and dentin. The manipulation during restoration is not highly technique-sensitive due to formation of chemical bonds of the cement with the tooth surface. No extensive or methodical cavity preparations are required and therefore it can be easily used in patients who are apprehensive about dental procedures.Use of rotary dental instruments can also be avoided in certain glass ionomer fillings.

Safety and Benefits

The cement is a biocompatible filling material and generally does not cause irritation to the dental pulp. One of the major advantages of glass ionomer cements is property to prevent dental caries. The fillings releases fluoride ions in the oral environment initially and continue to do so over a period of time. The release of fluoride ions leads to prevention of dental caries in the adjacent teeth.

Uses of glass ionomer fillings

Due to the tooth-like color and chemical bonding of the cement, it has numerous applications in dentistry which are as follows :

  • Restoration material for decayed anterior (front) teeth where amalgam fillings may not be suitable.
  • To restore eroded tooth surfaces.
  • Restoration of cervical abrasions caused by forceful brushing or nail biting habits.
  • For cementation of crowns, bridges and orthodontic appliances.
  • Sealant for pit and fissure type of minimal dental caries present on the grinding surfaces of molars and premolars.
  • Used for lining a cavity or as a base restoration before placement of other restorative materials.
  • As a restorative material in deciduous teeth.
  • For restoring decay present on the root surface of the teeth.
  • As a core build up material prior to full coverage restoration.
  • Glass ionomer cement can be used as a long term temporary restorative materials.
  • As an endodontic filling material.
  • Filling material in conditions with minimum dental equipments such as in dental camps in remote areas.
  • As an atraumatic restorative material.

Avoid glass ionomer fillings

Glass ionomer cement should be avoided in the following cases :

  • The areas bearing stresses and forces while chewing and biting such as grinding surfaces of the molars.
  • When large areas of enamel in the anterior teeth has to be replaced such as tooth discoloration or crown fractures, glass ionomer cement is avoided as it is not as aesthetically pleasing as dental composite fillings.
  • It is also not suitable when the cusp of the teeth is to be replaced.
  • Glass ionomer filling is avoided in mouth breathers and patients suffering from xerostomia as the cements tend to become opaque, brittle and disintegrated in a short period in these conditions.

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