Physicochemical Nature of Glass-Ionomer-Based Materials and Their Clinical Performance

  • Michael F. BurrowEmail author


This chapter outlines the physical and chemical properties of glass-ionomer (GIC) and resin-modified glass-ionomer cements. The latter part proceeds to summarise various aspects of their clinical performance.

It is noted that these materials are brittle in nature when fully matured or set. Glass-ionomer cements, due to the process of the setting reaction, reach their full strength about 24 h after the initial mixing. The resin-modified materials have an additional hydrophilic resin included that improves early strength and aesthetics but importantly reduces the initial sensitivity to water, allowing early finishing shortly after placement.

Application of a resin coating on the surface of GICs has shown some improvement in the fracture strength, but seems to be material dependent based on current evidence. The improvement in strength is thought to be due to the resin-filling surface defects and cracks where fracture may be initiated. Not all materials or studies have shown consistent outcomes for this coating method. There is limited evidence to suggest that the wear resistance may also be enhanced with the resin coating.

Ion release is also described in this chapter. This part shows that the initial release of ions, in particular fluoride, is high but tapers off to steady low-level release. The clinical benefits are still not well understood.

The latter part of the chapter summarises various aspects of the clinical performance of GICs. Studies of retention in non-carious cervical lesions are described, as well as recent work using the atraumatic restorative treatment (ART) technique. The last part outlines results from fissure sealant studies that tend to show poor retention of GIC sealants. However, even though retention may be limited, it appears that GICs can afford some long-lasting anticariogenic effects to the fissure system.


Glass-ionomer cement Fracture toughness Flexural strength Ion release Physical properties Clinical evaluation Fissure sealant 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Restorative Dentistry, Melbourne Dental SchoolThe University of MelbourneCarltonAustralia

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