Glass Ionomer Cements

A glass ionomer cement is a type of dental restorative material used in dentistry as a filling and luting cement, including for orthodontic bracket attachment. Glass-ionomer cements are based on the reaction of silicate glass-powder and polyacrylic acid, an ionomer. Occasionally water is used instead of an acid, altering the properties of the material and its uses but it is done rarely.

Clinical uses

Various clinical uses of glass ionomer compounds as restorative materials are stated below

  • Cermets which are essentially metal reinforced glass ionomer cements, which are used to aid in restoring tooth loss as a result of decay or cavities near the gingival margin, or the tooth roots, though cermets can be incorporated at other sites on various teeth, depending on the case and function required.

  • Used to treat dental recession.

  • As pit and fissure sealants to seal the small fissures to stop progression of the cavity.

  • Used in root canal treatments as core build up materials.

  • Used in fixing dental crowns or prosthesis.

  • Sealants combined with fluoride varnishes are used in prevention of dental caries.

  • Used in fixing orthodontic braces.

  • Used in proximal cavity restorations in anterior teeth to maintain aesthetics.

  • Glass ionomers can be used in dentin surface treatment which may be useful in undercut cavities.

  • Used as permanent filling material in classI and classII cavities.

  • Used in mild attrition cases to prevent sensitivity.


  • Glass ionomer sealants are thought to prevent caries by steady release of fluoride over a prolonged period and the fissures are more resistant to demineralization, even after the visible loss of sealant material.

  • These sealants have hydrophilic properties, allowing them to be an alternative of the hydrophobic resin cements in the wet oral cavity. Resin-based sealants are easily destroyed by saliva contamination and hence it adds to the advantages of GIC.

  • Chemically curable glass ionomer cements are considered safe from allergic reactions, but a few have been reported with resin-based materials. Glass ionomer cements are hence considered as biocompatible cements.

  • They are present in various forms to be used in different situations and cases.

  • Glass ionomer cements are aesthetic in nature or in other sense they resemble the natural teeth.


  • The main disadvantage of glass ionomer sealants or cements is inadequate retention or simply lack of strength

  • Lack of toughness

  • Limited wear resistance.

Types Of Glass Ionomer Cements

Type I: Luting

Type II: Restorative

Type III: Liner or Bases

Type IV: Pit and fissure sealants

Type V: Luting for orthodontic purpose

Type VI: Core build up material

Type VII: Fluoride releasing

Type VIII: Atraumatic restorative treatment

Type XI: Pediatric glass ionomer cements

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