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How to use dental cement?

Dental cement is a versatile material commonly used in dentistry to bond and fill teeth and attach dental restorations such as crowns, bridges, and veneers. If you're looking for a quick and effective way to fix a broken tooth or restore a damaged one, dental cement may be the solution you're looking for. However, dental cement can be tricky, especially if it is your first time. In this guide, we'll walk you through how to properly use dental cement to achieve the best possible results and maintain a healthy, beautiful smile.

Purpose and Applications

Dental cement is a versatile material that has various applications in the field of dentistry. It is commonly used in restorative procedures, where it is applied to fill cavities and build up teeth damaged due to decay or trauma. Dental cement is also used to secure crowns, bridges, and other prosthetic devices in place. Dental cement attaches brackets and other hardware to the teeth when placing orthodontic appliances such as braces and aligners.

The role of dental cement in temporary and permanent restorations is critical. Temporary restorations are created using dental cement to provide a temporary solution until a permanent restoration can be made. This type of 3m dental cement is designed to be easily removed when the final restoration is ready to be placed. Permanent restorations use a stronger type of dental cement that permanently bonds the restoration to the tooth. This ensures that the restoration will remain securely in place for years.

Preparing for Dental Cement Application

Preparing for dental cement application requires gathering the necessary supplies and ensuring proper tooth surface preparation. Here is a detailed guide on the essential tools and materials, recommended brands/types of dental cement, tooth surface preparation steps, and the significance of moisture control.

Gathering Necessary Supplies: Before starting the dental cement application, it is crucial to pick the following essential tools and materials:

Dental cement: Different dental procedures may require specific types of dental cement, such as resin-based cement, glass ionomer relyx dental cement, or zinc phosphate cement. Consultation with a dental professional or manufacturer's recommendations can help you choose the appropriate cement.

Spatula: A spatula is used for measuring and mixing dental cement.

Mixing pad: A mixing pad provides a clean surface for mixing the cement and facilitates easy manipulation.

Etchant: Etchant, usually in the form of phosphoric acid, prepares the tooth surface for cementation by creating micro-retention.

Adhesive system: Depending on the procedure and cement type, an 3m dental adhesive system may be necessary to enhance bond strength between the tooth structure and the cement.

Dental dams or cotton rolls: These aid in moisture control during cementation.

Applicator: An applicator, such as a brush or syringe, is used to apply the cement onto the tooth surface.

Preparing the Tooth Surface: Proper tooth preparation is essential to ensure effective bonding and long-term success of dental cement. The following step-by-step guide outlines the tooth surface preparation process:

Isolation: Begin by isolating the tooth to be cemented using a dental dam or cotton rolls. This helps maintain a dry environment, which is crucial for optimal bonding.

Cleaning: Thoroughly clean the tooth surface using a non-fluoridated pumice or a mild abrasive agent to remove plaque, debris, and surface stains. Rinse the tooth with water and air dry.

Etching: As the manufacturer recommends, apply the etchant (usually phosphoric acid) to the tooth surface for a specific duration. Etching creates micro retention by roughening the enamel surface, enhancing the bond strength of the cement.

Rinse and Dry: After the etching time, thoroughly rinse the tooth surface with water to remove the etchant. Ensure complete removal of the etchant and dry the tooth surface gently using an air syringe. Be cautious not to desiccate the tooth excessively.

Highlighting the Significance of Moisture Control: Moisture control is vital during dental cement application as it directly influences the bond strength and longevity of the restoration. Moisture can interfere with the scotchbond universal adhesive properties of the cement and compromise the bond between the tooth and the restoration. Effective moisture control is achieved by using a dental dam or cotton rolls to isolate the tooth, preventing saliva or blood contamination.

Mixing and Handling Dental Cement

Different types of dental cement have different mixing ratios, and it's important to follow the manufacturer's instructions to ensure proper consistency and setting times. Here are some general guidelines:

Glass ionomer cement: Mix one scoop of powder with one drop of liquid, or follow the manufacturer's instructions.

Zinc phosphate cement: Mix two scoops of powder with one drop of liquid, or follow the manufacturer's instructions.

Zinc oxide-eugenol cement: Mix equal powder and liquid, or follow the manufacturer's instructions.

Polycarboxylate cement: Mix one scoop of powder with three drops of liquid, or follow the manufacturer's instructions.

Slowly add the liquid to the powder to achieve the desired consistency while mixing with a spatula or in a mechanical mixer. The mixture should be smooth and homogenous without any lumps. It's important not to mix too vigorously, as this can create air bubbles that weaken the cement.

Handling Dental Cement: Load the mixing instrument with an appropriate amount of cement according to the size of the restoration you're working on. Excessive amounts of cement can cause oozing, while insufficient amounts may lead to incomplete coverage. When applying the cement, gently pressure to avoid trapping air bubbles. Start from the center of the restoration and work outward. If air bubbles are present, tap the tooth gently to encourage them to rise to the surface. You can also use a syringe to apply the 3m relyx luting cement in thin layers, which can help reduce the risk of air bubbles. Time considerations can vary depending on the type of cement used. For example, glass ionomer cement typically takes 2-3 minutes to set, while zinc oxide-eugenol cement can take up to 12 minutes. Follow the manufacturer's instructions carefully, and avoid disturbing the restoration while the cement is placed.

By following these guidelines for mixing and handling dental cement, you can ensure optimal results and minimize the risk of complications.

Applying Dental Cement

Dental cement is used to attach crowns or bridges to prepared teeth. For temporary restorations, dental cement is applied to the inside surface of the crown or bridge and seated onto the tooth surface. For permanent restorations, the cement is mixed and applied to the tooth and restoration before seating. It is important to ensure proper fit and stability, remove excess cement, and perform post-cementation checks for occlusal adjustments.

Temporary Restorations:

Step 1: Clean and dry the prepared tooth surface and a temporary restoration. Use a gentle stream of water and a toothbrush to remove any debris or residue.

Step 2: Apply a small amount of dental cement onto the inside surface of the temporary crown or bridge.

Step 3: Seat the temporary restoration firmly onto the prepared tooth, ensuring it is properly aligned and fits snugly. Hold it for a few seconds to allow the cement to set.

Step 4: Remove any excess cement that may have squeezed out from around the restoration using dental floss or Explorer.

Step 5: Instruct the patient to avoid chewing on hard or sticky foods and gently brush around the temporary restoration.

Permanent Restorations:

Step 1: Clean and dry the prepared tooth surface and permanent restoration. Use a gentle stream of water and a toothbrush to remove any debris or residue.

Step 2: Mix the dental cement according to the manufacturer's instructions. Place a small amount of cement into the crown or bridge.

Step 3: Seat the permanent restoration onto the prepared tooth, ensuring it is properly aligned and fits snugly. Apply firm pressure to ensure proper seating.

Step 4: Remove any excess cement that may have squeezed out from around the restoration using dental floss or Explorer.

Step 5: Check the patient's bite and adjust if necessary. Please ensure the contact between the restored tooth and its opposing tooth is comfortable and there are no high spots.

Step 6: Instruct the patient to avoid chewing on hard or sticky foods and to brush gently around the restoration for the first 24 hours after cementation.

Important Considerations:

Proper fit: Ensuring a good fit between the restoration and the prepared tooth is crucial for the success of the cementation process. This can be achieved by following proper tooth preparation techniques and taking accurate impressions.

Stability: The cement used should provide adequate retention and resistance form to keep the restoration in place. Cement choice depends on the restoration type, tooth structure, and other factors.

Removal of excess cement: Leaving excess cement around the restoration can lead to gum tissue inflammation or cause patient discomfort. Removing all excess cement using dental floss or an explorer is important.

Post-cementation checks: After cementation, it is important to check the patient's bite and make necessary adjustments. This ensures proper occlusion and prevents any undue stress on the new restoration.

By following these steps and considerations, dental professionals can ensure the successful cementation of temporary and permanent restorations, improving oral health and patient satisfaction.

Caring for Dental Cemented Restorations

After receiving a dental cemented restoration, patients must know how to properly care for and maintain it. Proper oral hygiene practices are important in keeping the restoration healthy and functional. Patients should brush their teeth twice daily with fluoride toothpaste and floss at least once daily to remove plaque and food debris that can accumulate around the restoration. Patients should also avoid chewing on hard foods or using their teeth as tools to prevent damage to the restoration. It is recommended that patients schedule regular dental checkups and cleanings to ensure the restoration remains in good condition and to address any potential issues early on.

Despite proper care, complications may still arise with dental cemented restorations. Common problems associated with dental tempbond cement use include sensitivity and cement washout. If patients experience sensitivity, they should avoid hot and cold foods and drinks and contact their dentist as soon as possible to evaluate the cause of the sensitivity and take steps to address it. The restoration may become loose or fall out completely if a cement washout occurs. Patients should contact their dentist immediately if this happens to have the restoration re-cemented. In some cases, the dentist may need to replace the restoration entirely.

Caring for dental cemented restorations requires proper oral hygiene practices and regular dental visits. Patients should be aware of common issues associated with dental cement use and seek prompt treatment if complications arise. By taking these steps, patients can ensure the longevity and functionality of their dental restorations.


Dental cement is a versatile and essential material in dentistry that can be used for various purposes, such as filling cavities, repairing broken teeth, and securing dental restorations. Proper preparation and application techniques are critical to ensure successful outcomes and long-lasting results. It's crucial to follow the manufacturer's instructions carefully and consult with a dentist if you have any questions or concerns about using dental cement. Dental cement can help restore oral health and preserve your smile for years with proper use and care.