GIC or Composite, what is the ideal material after root canal treatment

There are many causes of toothache, one them can be due to dead or infected tissue, this is treated through a procedure commonly known as root canal. A root canal is treatment carried out to repair and save a badly damaged or infected tooth. The term root canal comes from the cleaning of canal inside the tooth’s root.

Some people think of teeth to be just hard bone like structure which are very hard and rigid but in fact the tooth is covered in enamel and under the enamel there is a hard layer called the Dentin. There is a soft tissue underneath the dentin called pulp which contains blood vessels, nerves and connective tissue which helps the tooth grow during its development. The soft tissue / pulp can get damaged due to trauma, repeated dental treatment or infected due to dental caries and this is treated by performing the root canal.

You might think how someone can survive without the pulp and there is a simple answer to it; once a tooth is fully developed it can survive without pulp because it continues to get the required nourishment from the tissue surrounding it.

Root canal procedure is carried out in several steps. The first step is to cut the enamel and dentin in order to get access to the pulp cavity or pulp chamber. The second step is bio mechanical preparation and the third part is the filing of root canal called “Obturation”.  Once the obturation is complete it is very important to carry out post obturation filling or restoration, this is very critical as this makes sure the infection does not regenerate and also confirms that there is not leakage of fluids in the root canal. Once the restoration is complete the next step is to give the treated tooth a Dental Crown or Onlay (This can be Metal, Zirconia or Metal Ceramic). It is pertinent to note that selecting the restoration materials is of grave significance as the restoration material helps bond to the tooth structure.

The commonly known restoration materials are:

  • Composite
  • Glass ionomer cement (GIC)
  • Amalgum

Composite and silver filing provides a strong permanent seal as it micro mechanically bonds with tooth structure thus preventing future leakage. Composite can be used to directly restore the tooth without using a crown. In general this is perfectly done on the teeth in front of the mouth i.e. for canine and incisors if they are relatively intact as they are used for biting not chewing therefore experience less physical stress then the teeth at the back of the mouth i.e. the premolars or molars. Composite filing can also be used in premolars and molars if a large amount of tooth remains. Teeth are covered using a crown to avoid decay. Glass Ionomer Cement (GIC) also bonds tooth structure but its drawback is that GIC is soluble in saliva which makes it a less permanent solution therefore composite appears to be a much better restoration material. Amulgum can also be used however it Amulgum does not bond with tooth structure making it vulnerable to leakage in longer run.

The combined use of both GIC and Composite can provide the best possible solution. This is possible by putting a layer of GIC on Pulpal Floor and the rest through composite restoration of cavity.  At the end of the day an experienced Eugene Dentist you can ultimately help you determine the best and most cost effective choice based on the condition of your tooth/teeth and based on your affordability.


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