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Dental cement is used for various dental procedures, such as crowns, bridges, inlays, onlays, and certain types of fillings. In this guide, we will focus on permanent dental cement, its purpose, and how long it generally lasts.
What is Permanent Dental Cement?
Permanent dental cement is a bonding material used to attach dental prosthetics such as crowns, bridges, or dentures to teeth. It serves as a barrier to prevent leakage, holds the dental appliance in place, and can provide insulation against thermal sensitivity.
Composition and Types
Permanent dental cement is made from various materials, and there are several types, including:
- Zinc Phosphate Cement: One of the oldest types used. It has good compressive strength but can be somewhat irritating to the pulp in the tooth due to its acidity.
- Glass Ionomer Cement (GIC): Made from silicate glass powder and polyacrylic acid. It’s less irritating to the pulp and can release fluoride, which helps prevent decay.
- Resin-Modified Glass Ionomer Cement (RMGIC): Similar to GIC but with additional resin components, which improves bond strength and aesthetics.
- Polycarboxylate Cement: Made from zinc oxide and a liquid polycarboxylic acid. This cement is biocompatible and causes less irritation to the pulp.
- Resin Cement: Made from composite resins, this type of cement is known for its strong bonding capabilities and is often used for aesthetic restorations.
Factors Affecting the Longevity of Permanent Dental Cement
There are several factors that can affect how long permanent dental cement lasts:
- Type of Cement: As mentioned above, different types of cements have different properties. Resin cements tend to last longer than others.
- Quality of Bonding Surface: The condition of the tooth and the restoration can affect the bond. A clean, well-prepared surface will bond better.
- Patient’s Oral Habits: Grinding teeth, chewing on hard objects, or poor oral hygiene can shorten the lifespan of dental cement.
- Precision of the Dental Work: The precision and quality of the dental work involved in placing crowns, bridges, or other appliances can have an impact on how long the cement lasts.
- Oral Environment: The chemical environment in the mouth, including the pH levels in saliva, can affect the durability of dental cement.
How Long Does Permanent Dental Cement Last?
The longevity of permanent dental cement can vary. In general, it can last for many years, and in some cases, it can last for the lifetime of the restoration. However, it is not uncommon for crowns or bridges to become loose over time due to the cement wearing down. Regular dental check-ups are essential to monitor the status of dental restorations and the cement that holds them in place.
What to Do if Dental Cement Fails?
If you notice that a crown, bridge, or another restoration becomes loose or falls out, it’s important not to ignore it. Schedule an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible. Your dentist will evaluate the situation and determine whether the restoration can be re-cemented or if a new one is needed.
Permanent dental cement is a critical component in various dental restorations. Its longevity can vary depending on the type of cement, the quality of the dental work, and the patient’s oral habits and environment. Regular dental check-ups are vital for ensuring that dental cement and restorations remain in good condition. If you experience a loose or lost restoration, contact your dentist promptly.
This Q&A series article is complete and was published on July 23, 2023, and last updated on July 23, 2023.