Clinical application of calcium hydroxide in dental pathology and endodontics
Calcium hydroxide has a hard tissue inducing effect. It is a powder, that can be mixed with a physiological saline to a paste. The paste is highly alkaline with a pH 12.5 and its application to the pulp results in necrosis of the part of coronal pulp tissue shows no or only a milled inflammatory reaction. Analyzing the pH and the concentration of calcium ions in the periapical area, it is obvious that at least 2 weeks are necessary for calcium hydroxide bactericide activity. Calcium hydroxide retains its anti-bacterial properties for about two months when placed under a restoration, after which it degrades to calcium oxide and other less effective calcium salts. All calcium hydroxide preparations have a limited shelf life as they eventually turn into calciumoxide. Calcium hydroxide can be used as linings, for indirect and direct pulp cupping, root dressing, root canal sealant, apical closure. The vehicles play a supportive role, giving pastes chemical characteristics such as dissociation and diffusion as well as favoring the correct filling of the root canal which are decisive factors for antimicrobial potential and tissue healing. The mechanism of action of calcium hydroxide on tissues, inducing the deposition of mineralized tissue, is an extremely important aspect for the indication of calcium hydroxide, because it demonstrates biological compatibility of calcium hydroxide.