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In vitro Characteristics of a Glass Ionomer Cement

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  • Original Articles
  • Medicine


Glass ionomer cements were first described by Wilson and Kent and have been used in dentistry since 1969. It has been recommended for bridging ossicular chain defects, fixation of ossicular chain prosthesis, anchoring of cochlear implants, mastoid obliteration, and repair of tegmen and posterior canal wall defects. The biocompatability and stability of this material over time is vital to its usefulness in neurotologic surgery. The purpose of this study was to assess the stability of a glass ionomer cement in the presence of bacteria and in different pH environments. We demonstrated that bacteria readily adhere to the surface and their presence is associated with accelerated loss of matrix. We found the cement to be susceptible to low pH and to release a visible cloud of debris upon contact with fluid. Calcium concentration in the solution was elevated at all pH levels. Although we are able to demonstrate these findings in vitro the clinical relevance is unclear. There have been several cases of aseptic meningitis possibly due to intracranial release of components of the cement. Until further studies are done use of the cement in contact with cerebral spinal fluid should be avoided. This cement, or a similar material, would be useful in neurotologic surgery but prior to widespread use further testing should be done to assess safety.

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