Glass Ionomer Cement: Types & Uses

Instructor: Dan Washmuth

Dan has taught college Nutrition, Anatomy, Physiology, and Sports Nutrition courses and has a master's degree in Dietetics & Nutrition.

Glass ionomer cement is a very important material used in dentistry. Learn all about this form of cement, including its various types and uses, by reading this lesson!

Dental Cement

Joel is a 43-year-old who is a chocoholic. Most nights, Joel can be found on his couch, mindlessly eating chocolate as he watches TV. Joel's wife constantly reminds him to make sure he brushes his teeth before he goes to bed in order to prevent cavities, but Joel often ignores her.

Unfortunately for Joel, his love of chocolate and not brushing his teeth has caught up with him. At his most recent dentist appointment, Joel was told that he had three new cavities that needed to be filled. After getting his teeth filled, Joel looked at his fillings and marveled to his dentist that he couldn't see the fillings at all. The dentist then explained that he used a glass ionomer cement to fill his cavities, which is a material that has the same color as his teeth.

What Exactly is Glass Ionomer Cement?

Glass ionomer cement is a type of cement often used in dentistry that is made from combining a silicate glass powder with a polymer. When these two substances are mixed together, they form a type of cement that has a color very similar to the color of teeth which helps it blend in without being noticeable.

There are several characteristics of glass ionomer cement that makes it an ideal material for the dentists to use. In additional to being the same color as teeth, this cement sticks to the enamel (hard outer layer) of teeth, making it an ideal adhesive material in various dental procedures. Additionally, glass ionomer cement also releases fluoride, making it an ideal substance to use in dentistry, since fluoride helps to prevent tooth decay.

Glass ionomer cement adheres easily to the enamel of the teeth.

Types and Uses of Glass Ionomer Cements

There are three main types of glass ionomer cements, and the following chart describes the uses of each type.

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