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Review paper: role of aluminum in glass-ionomer dental cements and its biological effects

By John W. Nicholson and Beata Czarnecka


The role of aluminum in glass-ionomers and resin-modified glass-ionomers for dentistry is reviewed. Aluminum is included in the glass component of these materials in the form of Al(2)O(3) to confer basicity on the glass and enable the glass to take part in the acid-base setting reactions. Results of studies of these reactions by FTIR and magic-angle spinning (MAS)-NMR spectroscopy are reported and the role of aluminum is discussed in detail. Aluminum has been shown to be present in the glasses in predominantly 4-coordination, as well as 5- and 6-coordination, and during setting a proportion of this is converted to 6-coordinate species within the matrix of the cement. Despite this, mature cements may contain detectable amounts of both 4- and 5-coordinate aluminum. Aluminum has been found to be leached from glass-ionomer cements, with greater amounts being released under acidic conditions. It may be associated with fluoride, with which it is known to complex strongly. Aluminum that enters the body via the gastro-intestinal tract is mainly excreted, and only about 1% ingested aluminum crosses the gut wall. Calculation shows that, if a glass-ionomer filling dissolved completely over 5 years, it would add only an extra 0.5% of the recommended maximum intake of aluminum to an adult patient. This leads to the conclusion that the release of aluminum from either type of glass-ionomer cement in the mouth poses a negligible health hazard

Topics: QD, RS
Publisher: SAGE Publications
Year: 2009
DOI identifier: 10.1177/0885328209344441
OAI identifier:
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