Glass-ionomer cements perform a protective effect on the dentin-pulp complex considering the F ions release and chemical bonding to the dental structures. On the other hand, those materials have poor physic-mechanical properties in comparison with the restorative resin composite. The main aim of this work was to evaluate the influence of zirconia and/or alumina fillers on the microstructure and strength of a resin modified glass-ionomer cement after thermal cycling.


An in vitro experimental study was carried out on 9 groups (n = 10) of cylindrical samples (6 x 4 mm) made from resin modified glass-ionomer (Vitremer, 3M, USA) with different contents of alumina and/or zirconia fillers. A nano-hybrid resin composite was tested as a control group. Samples were mechanically characterized by axial compressive tests and electron scanning microscopy (SEM) coupled to energy dispersive X-ray spectrophotometry (EDS), before and after thermal cycling. Thermal cycling procedures were performed at 3000, 6000 and 10000 cycles in Fusayama´s artificial saliva at 5 and 60 oC.


An improvement of compressive strength was noticed on glass-ionomer reinforced with alumina fillers in comparison with the commercial glass ionomer. SEM images revealed the morphology and distribution of alumina or zirconia in the microstructure of glass-ionomers. Also, defects such as cracks and pores were detected on the glass-ionomer cements. The materials tested were not affected by thermal cycling in artificial saliva.


Addition of inorganic particles at nano-scale such as alumina can increase the mechanical properties of glass-ionomer cements. However, the presence of cracks and pores present in glass-ionomer can negatively affect the mechanical properties of the material because they are areas of stress concentration.

Keywords: Alumina, glass-ionomer cement, strength, thermal cycling, zirconia.
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