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UW researchers test new reversible cement

Dental cement is strong for good reason, but anyone who has had braces removed or a crown replaced knows what a struggle it can be for the dentist to pop off the old hardware. That may soon be a thing of the past, however, with the development of a new reversible cement tested by UW School of Dentistry researchers.

The cement was developed by the CAO Group, Inc., a dental supplier that also invented LED cement-curing lights and modern diode lasers. CAO and the UW researchers presented their findings at the recent International Association for Dental Research conference in Vancouver, B.C.

They reported that the cement, after being weakened by exposure to a diode laser, allows the dentist to use as much as 77 percent less force for removal. Tests were conducted using extracted teeth and orthodontic bands.

The researchers also found that residual cement could be easily cleaned without damage to the bands or the tooth enamel. The laser diode debonding process was fast, too, taking as little as 10 to 20 seconds.

Development of the cement meets a long-held goal for dentists, who have sought a cement that can bond or debond dental prosthetics on command. CAO spent more than a decade researching and developing the cement, which leaves the dental prosthetic or tooth undamaged in the course of debonding.

“Reversible cement developed by CAO showed great promise for applications in restorative dentistry,” said Dr. Daniel Chan, chair of the UW’s Department of Restorative Dentistry. “The reversible cement can be used in many applications where cementation is needed. The prosthetics can be easily removed, and surfaces can be easily cleaned. It will facilitate and improve all clinical cementation procedures.”

“Reversible cement could have very important applications in orthodontics,” said Dr. Greg Huang, chair of the UW’s Department of Orthodontics. “The reversible cement could be considered for any of the cementation processes in orthodontics, including brackets, bands, fixed retainers, etc.”