dental02.jpg (11342 bytes)Fundamentals of
Dental Materials

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Restorative Materials

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1-15. CHARACTERISTICS OF POLYCARBOXYLATE CEMENT

a. General. The primary use of polycarboxylate cement is as a cementing medium of cast alloy and porcelain restorations. In addition, it can be used as a cavity liner, as a base under metallic restorations, or as a temporary restorative material.

b. Clinical Uses. Polycarboxylate cement is used in the same way as zinc phosphate cement, both as an intermediate base and as a cementing medium.

c. Chemical Composition.

(1) Powder. The composition of polycarboxylate cement powder may vary slightly depending on manufacturers. It generally contains zinc oxide, 1 to 5 percent magnesium oxide, and 10 to 40 percent aluminum oxide or other reinforcing fillers. A small percentage of fluoride may be included.

(2) Liquid. Polycarboxylate cement liquid is approximately a 40 percent aqueous solution of polyacrylic acid copolymer with other organic acids such as itaconic acid. Due to its high molecular weight, the solution is rather thick (viscous).

d. Properties. The properties of polycarboxylate cement are identical to those of zinc phosphate cement with one exception. Polycarboxylate cement has lower compressive strength.

e. Setting Reactions. Unlike zinc phosphate cement, the setting reaction of polycarboxylate cement produces little heat. This has made it a material of choice. Manipulation is simpler, and trauma due to thermal shock to the pulp is reduced. The rate of setting is affected by the powder-liquid ratio, the reactivity of the zinc oxide, the particle size, the presence of additives, and the molecular weight and concentration of the polyacrylic acid. The strength can be increased by additives such as alumina and fluoride. The zinc oxide reacts with the polyacrylic acid forming a cross-linked structure of zinc polyacrylate. The set cement consists of residual zinc oxide bonded together by a gel-like matrix.

David L. Heiserman, Editor

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Revised: October 24, 2010