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J Am Dent Assoc. 2003 Nov;134(11):1463-7.

Galvanic interaction between gold and amalgam: effect of zinc, time and surface treatments.

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Department of Operative Dentistry and Biomaterials, Louisiana State University School of Dentistry, New Orleans 70119, USA.



Previous studies have investigated the electrolytic action of oral electrogalvanism. However, the reasons why certain treatments or materials are successful in reducing galvanic current have not been addressed fully. This study assessed galvanic current with several materials, surface conditions and treatments.


The authors measured galvanic currents between a type 3 cast gold alloy and Dispersalloy Dispersed Phase Alloy (zinc) (Dentsply Caulk, Milford, Del.) under different surface conditions using a zero-resistance-ammeter technique in a synthetic saliva solution for 10 hours. In addition, the galvanic currents between the same gold and Tytin alloy (non-zinc) (Kerr, Orange, Calif.), experimental zinc alloy (same makeup as that of Tytin, with the addition of zinc) and non-zinc dispersed-phase experimental alloy (essentially the same physical and chemical makeup as that of Dispersalloy, with the exclusion of zinc) were measured. Triplicate tests were performed for each condition.


The statistical analysis indicated that electrogalvanic activity is reduced significantly when the amalgam surface is treated with tin oxide or silver nitrate. Both zinc-containing amalgams in their as-carved condition exhibited higher anodic charge densities than did their zinc-free counterparts. Galvanic current measured in Dispersalloy was reduced with the passage of time after carving.


Galvanic interaction between cast gold and amalgam is reduced with time and surface treatments, but is increased considerably when the amalgam contains zinc.


Amalgam restorations containing zinc that are in contact with gold restorations occasionally elicit galvanic pain. Selection of a non-zinc-containing amalgam will reduce the level of galvanic interaction. Galvanic pain from occlusal contact is reduced or eliminated when the restoration is brushed with tin oxide immediately after carving or is treated with 2 percent silver nitrate. Some patients may benefit from having their teeth separated with nonconducting rubber dam material.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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