Objective: To explore the long-term in-vivo effect of different
dental restorative materials on the surrounding enamel and
dentin, in primary molars. Method and Materials: Sixteen
naturally exfoliated primary molars restored with amalgam,
compomer, and glass-ionomer cement were collected after 2 to
5 years of function in the mouth. Four intact molars served as
control. The teeth were sliced buccolingually and the ion content
in the restorative material, the enamel, and the dentin surrounding
the restoration was determined using a scanning
electron microscopy-energy dispersive x-ray spectroscopy
(SEM-EDS) program. Results: Amalgam released copper to the
enamel and dentin causing a bluish discoloration. No traces of
mercury or other ions were detected in the enamel or dentin.
The enamel and dentin surrounding the restoration showed
reduced inorganic components and increased organic components. The enamel and dentin surrounding the compomer restoration showed similar to amalgam reduction in inorganic
components and increased organic components. Traces of
fluoride, aluminum, and silicon were found. The enamel and
dentin of teeth restored with glass-ionomer cement showed
the least reduction in inorganic components, with higher fluoride
content and traces of aluminum, silicon, and strontium.
Conclusion: This long-term in-vivo study showed release of
copper ions from amalgam material to the enamel and dentin,
but no traces of mercury. Amalgam and compomers showed no
remineralization effect on the dentin surrounding the restoration.
Glass-ionomer restorations showed remineralization
effect on the tooth components and migration of inorganic ions
from the enamel and dentin to the material.