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What is dental cement?

What is dental cement?

Dental cement is a type of dental material used to fill gaps or attach dental restorations such as crowns, bridges, and veneers to natural teeth. It is a versatile substance in different forms and formulations depending on its intended use. Dental cement is commonly made of a mixture of powdered and liquid components that are mixed to form a paste-like consistency. Once applied to the tooth or restoration, it hardens and becomes a durable and long-lasting bond. Dental cement is crucial in ensuring the success and longevity of many dental procedures and treatments.

What is Dental Cement?

Dental cement is a material that bonds dental restorations, such as crowns, bridges, and veneers, to the tooth structure. It is a versatile material used for various dental applications, including filling cavities, repairing cracked or chipped teeth, and anchoring orthodontic appliances. The purpose of 3m dental cement is to create a strong and durable bond between the restoration and the natural tooth structure. This helps ensure the restoration stays in place and functions properly over time. Dental cements are also designed to be biocompatible, meaning they are not harmful to the surrounding tissues and do not cause irritation or inflammation.

Composition of Dental Cements

Dental cement is used in various dental procedures and comprises two main components, powder and liquid. The powder component usually consists of different types of glass particles, such as silicates and aluminates, mixed with various fillers, pigments, and other additives that provide strength, stability, and aesthetic properties to the relyx dental cement. The liquid component is typically composed of water and an acidic solution, such as polyacrylic acid, which plays a critical role in the setting and hardening of the cement.

When these two components are mixed, a chemical reaction occurs between the liquid's acidic solution and the powder's glass particles. This reaction forms an amorphous gel-like matrix that binds the particles and creates a strong adhesive bond with the tooth structure. Depending on the specific type of cement, other chemical reactions can also occur, such as releasing fluoride ions from the glass particles, which can help strengthen the tooth enamel and prevent decay.

The setting and hardening process of dental cement also varies depending on the product type. Some cement hardens through ionic cross-linking, where the positively charged particles in the powder component bind with the negatively charged particles in the liquid, forming a solid material. Other cement uses a polymerization process, where the liquid part contains monomers that undergo a chemical reaction, creating long chains of polymers that link together and form a hardened material.

Types of Dental Cement

Several types of dental cement are used for different purposes in dentistry. Here are some common types:

Temporary Dental Cement: This cement provides a temporary fix for a dental restoration or filling. They are meant to be easily removable and are not designed to last for an extended period.

Permanent Dental Cement: As the name suggests, these cement are used for permanent dental restorations such as crowns, bridges, inlays, and onlays. They can withstand the wear and tear of daily use and last for many years.

Resin-based Dental Cement: These cement are made from a mixture of resin and filler materials and are commonly used for bonding ceramic and porcelain restorations to teeth. They offer good strength and durability but require careful handling during placement to ensure proper curing.

Glass ionomer Dental Cement: These cements are made from glass powder and an organic acid. They form a chemical bond with dental enamel and dentin and release fluoride, which helps to prevent decay. They are commonly used for filling cavities in children and lining cavities before placing other restorative materials.

Zinc oxide-eugenol Dental Cement: This cement contains zinc oxide and eugenol (clove oil) and is commonly used for provisional restorations, cementing temporary crowns, and root canal sealers. They have a soothing effect on the pulp and can help reduce sensitivity.

Uses of Dental Cement

Dental cement is a versatile material that has many uses in dentistry. Dental cement is important in maintaining oral health and function, from restorative procedures to preventative care. Its ability to bond to tooth structure and other dental materials makes it an essential tool for dentists. In restorative dentistry, 3m dental adhesive can be used for fillings, crowns, bridges, inlays, and onlays. It is also used for bracket bonding in endodontic procedures, such as root canal filling and orthodontics. Additionally, dental cement can be used in preventative dentistry for pit and fissure sealants and desensitizing agents. Dental cement helps maintain teeth' structural integrity, promote oral health, and improve patient comfort.

Here are some uses of dental cement for different purposes.

Restorative Dentistry:

  • Fillings: Dental cement is commonly used as a filling material in restorative dentistry. It can be used to fill cavities or repair chipped or broken teeth.
  • Crowns and Bridges: Dental cement attaches crowns and bridges to natural teeth or implants. It holds the prosthetic tooth or teeth securely in place.
  • Inlays and Onlays: Inlays and onlays are custom-made restorations designed to fit into a prepared cavity when a regular filling is insufficient. Dental cement is used to bond these restorations in place.


  • Root Canal Filling: After a root canal procedure, the space inside the tooth previously occupied by the pulp is cleaned and filled with dental cement scotchbond universal adhesive. This helps to seal the canal and prevent bacteria from entering.


  • Bracket Bonding: Dental cement attaches orthodontic brackets to the teeth. The cement creates a strong bond between the bracket and the tooth surface, allowing the bracket to apply pressure to move the tooth into the desired position.

Preventative Dentistry

  • Pit and Fissure Sealants: Dental cement is used to apply pit and fissure sealants to the chewing surfaces of molars and premolars. These sealants help to prevent decay by creating a barrier against food particles and bacteria.

  • Desensitizing Agents: Dental cement can apply desensitizing agents to exposed dentin areas on sensitive teeth. The cement protects the exposed area and helps to reduce sensitivity. 

How Dental Cement Works

Dental cement is a type of dental material used to bond various dental restorations, such as crowns, bridges, and fillings, to the natural tooth structure. The chemical composition of dental adhesive typically includes a mixture of inorganic powders, such as zinc oxide or glass ionomer, and a liquid component, such as water or polyacrylic acid.

The setting reaction and curing process of dental cement involves a chemical reaction between the powder and liquid components, which results in the formation of a hardened mass. This process is often called "setting" or "hardening." The setting time varies depending on the specific type of dental cement but typically ranges from several minutes to several hours.

Once the dental cement has set, it forms a strong bond with the tooth structure. The bonding mechanism is primarily based on micromechanical adhesion, which occurs due to the penetration of the cement into the microscopic irregularities of the tooth surface. Additionally, some types of dental cement, such as resin-based cement, contain adhesive monomers that can chemically bond to the tooth structure.

Functions of Dental Cement

Dental cement serves various functions in dentistry, including retention of dental restorations such as crowns, bridges, and orthodontic appliances. The cement creates a strong bond between the restoration and tooth structure, ensuring longevity and stability. Additionally, dental cement is used for sealing and preventing microleakage, which can lead to decay or damage to the tooth structure. It acts as a barrier against bacteria and other harmful substances that may penetrate the gaps between the tooth and the restoration. Furthermore, adhesive dental provides thermal insulation and protection to the tooth, reducing sensitivity to temperature changes and preventing further damage due to thermal shock. Lastly, aesthetic considerations are also considered while using dental cement, as it can affect the restoration's overall appearance by matching the cement's color with the tooth's. Dental cement is an essential material in dentistry and plays a vital role in ensuring the longevity and function of dental restorations.

Advantages of Dental Cement

Dental cement is a commonly used material in dentistry due to its numerous advantages. One of the primary advantages of dental cement is its excellent adhesion, which allows it to bond tightly to both tooth structure and restorative materials. Additionally, dental cement has high strength, making it ideal for restorative procedures requiring long-lasting durability. Another key advantage of dental cement is its biocompatibility, meaning it is safe for use in the human body without causing adverse reactions. This makes dental cement an optimal choice for patients who have allergies or sensitivities to other materials. Dental cement is also versatile, as it can be used in various dental procedures such as filling cavities, cementing crowns, and bonding orthodontic brackets. Lastly, dental cement is cost-effective, making it a practical option for patients who require dental treatment but may have budget constraints. Overall, dental cement provides various benefits, making it a valuable material in modern dentistry.

Factors to Consider When Choosing Dental Cement

When choosing dental cement, there are several factors to consider. The first is strength and durability, as the cement must withstand the forces of biting and chewing over time. Biocompatibility and sensitivity are also important, as the cement must not cause adverse reactions or discomfort in the patient. Another factor to consider is esthetics and color match, especially for visible teeth, as the cement should blend seamlessly with the surrounding teeth. Handling and ease of use are also crucial, as the cement must be easy to apply and work with for the dentist. Finally, cost-effectiveness is a consideration, as the cement should provide good value for money while still meeting all the requirements. By considering these factors together, dentists can choose the best cement for their patients' needs.


Dental cement is an adhesive used in dentistry to bond various materials, including crowns, bridges, and fillings. It is designed to provide a strong, durable, and long-lasting bond between the materials while promoting good oral health by preventing bacteria from entering the tooth. Dental cement comes in various types and formulations, each with unique properties and intended uses.