Moisture is the nature of the human body – especially the oral cavity. And while we’ve developed products to restore and protect our natural teeth, we’ve mostly only been able to develop products that work in dry environments.
Look at dental sealants for example. Traditional dental resin sealants prevent advancement of cavities, but if there is saliva contamination they can yield poor results. Glass ionomer sealants are better as they work with the saliva, but the benefits can be undercut by the frequent acidic characteristics found in the mouth.
There are a few hydrophilic products, however, that have been developed to work more successfully in moist environments. One example is Pulpdent’s Embrace WetBond Pit & Fissure Sealant. This material has the ability to allow ion transfer like a glass ionomer as well as a low solubility and a thorough adhesion to tooth structure. To allow for the free flow of beneficial ions through the material, the formula contains a small amount of water and is an ionic resin. This enables a continuous ionic exchange and makes Embrace a dynamic bioactive system more equipped for moist working environments.
It’s a great leap toward solving a difficult issue – but in due time and with the invention of similar products, it will no doubt be handled without any difficulty at all.
For a more in-depth look at glass ionomer sealants and how they work with saliva, watch for John C. Comisi’s article “The Challenge of Hydrophobic Material Use in a Moist Environment” in your spring edition of Sparkle, released beginning of May.