Dental cement or “dental glue” is used in various procedures performed by dentists to bond prosthetic devices such as crowns to teeth, install protective covers over exposed pulp in a tooth to keep it from getting infected and to help to control the pain associated with a bad cavity, and to seal the tooth. The cement is also used by dentists to temporarily fix things like a broken cap or bridge.
What are the different types of dental cement?
- Resin: Resin cement is a popular choice when a permanent bond is warranted due to its strength and durability. It comes in three curing types: light, chemical, and dual. Light curing uses ultraviolet light to set and harden the resin. Chemical curing involves mixing a chemical in with the resin to cause a chemical reaction that hardens the cement and is often used when ultraviolet light isn’t able to penetrate deep enough through the material to harden the resin. Dual curing means the dentist will use both ultraviolet light and chemicals to affix prosthetic devices and perform other restorative procedures. Resin cement is also good to use to seal the tooth from harmful bacteria.
- Zinc Phosphate: The cement is made by mixing zinc phosphate with phosphoric acid to create a high-strength cement to seal and protect permanent metal restorations. This cement can irritate the pulp in a tooth; especially if there is only a thin layer of tooth structure between the pulp and the cement.
- Zinc Polycarboxylate: Zinc polycarboxylate comes as a powder and a liquid. It was the first cement developed in dentistry to create an adhesive bond between a metal restoration and the enamel surrounding a tooth. The powder cement is formed by mixing zinc, magnesium, bismuth, aluminum, and stannous oxides together. The liquid form starts with a solution of polyacrylic acid and co-polymers. The solution is added to unsaturated carboxylic acid mixed with itaconic, maleic, tricarboxylic acids.
- Glass Ionomer: Glass ionomer cement are often used as a filler and a sealant when orthodontic brackets are placed in a mouth. The cement is typically made out of silicate glass powder mixed with polyacrylic acid to form an adhesive material that bonds well to the tooth. The cement seals the tooth from harmful bacteria that can build up around the brackets and cause cavities.
Resin Modified Glass Ionomer:
- Resin Modified Glass Ionomer: This cement functions the same as glass ionomer cement, but the resin helps to make it harden faster. It is made by mixing microscopic particles of glass with polyacrylic acid and resin. The resin allows the cement to be light-cured so it hardens faster.
Zinc Oxide w/ Eugenol:
- Zinc Oxide w/ Eugenol: This is the weakest of all the different types of cements dentist use and is used only for temporary bonding of prosthetic devices until more permanent work can be done. This product has to be used carefully because of the eugenol in it. Eugenol has been known to irritate the tissue surrounding the tooth if it gets on it.
Zinc Oxide w/o Eugenol:
- Zinc Oxide w/o Eugenol: Zinc oxide without eugenol is used to create cements like Recapit. Recapit is an “over-the-counter” cement that anyone can buy in a pharmacy. It comes in a tube, and is used to temporarily reattach a broken crown or cap to a tooth at home. The eugenol is removed to make the cement safer for people to use since you don’t have to worry about getting any on the surrounding tissue of the repair site. If you use this type of cement to fix a broken crown, make sure you get to a dentist as soon as possible. It has a difficult time holding up to the pressure of chewing and it will break down after a little while.
What are dental cements used for?
The cement is used in a number of dental procedures including metal and ceramic bridges, porcelain restorations, crowns, cavity liners, and orthodontic bands and appliances.
How to use the different types of dental cement?
How a cement is used depends on the type of procedure. For example, a dentist will usually use a weaker form of cement like zinc oxide with eugenol to place a temporary crown in your mouth while your permanent one is being made. A stronger cement is then used to affix the permanent crown in your mouth after it is made. The cement is placed on the inside of the crown and the crown is then carefully set on the tooth. You secure the crown in place by biting down on it.
With an ‘at home’ product like Recapit, you have to clean as much of the permanent cement off of the crown and your tooth as possible. Once the cement is removed, you open the tube and place some of it on the underside of the crown and then set the crown onto the tooth from where it came off. Bite down a few times to make sure the cap is firmly on the tooth, but not too hard at the beginning. You don’t want to cause damage to the opposing tooth either. The cement usually sets in about five minutes.
Where to buy dental cement?
Temporary cement you can use at home can be bought at many local pharmacies and stores throughout the greater New York City region. It can also be purchased online at numerous websites that sell dental products to the public.
How much does dental cement cost?
The cost of dental cement varies among the different manufacturers. For instance, a self-applied cement for the temporary repair of caps like Recapit typically costs anywhere from a few dollars per gram to eight dollars or more, depending on the vendor. The cost of the cement used by dentists in their offices is included in the cost of the dental work. Some dentists discount the rate they charge for material and services when you belong to MetrodentUSA. MetrodentUSA specializes in providing affordable dental care to individuals and families.
This article was reviewed and approved by a board certified dentist.