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Dr Thulfiqar
Dental Material
Block 4
1) Tarnish
2) Corrosion
i. Causes
ii. Classification
iii. Mechanism of corrosion
iv. Types of corrosion
v. Protection against corrosion
vi. Clinical significant
• Process by which a metal surface is dulled or discoloured
when a reaction with a sulphide, oxide, chloride or other
• Causes surface discoloration through formation of a thin
oxidized film
 In oral cavity, tarnish occur from
1) the formation of deposits on a surface of
2) The formation of thin films such as oxides,
sulphides or chlorides
 It may be only a simple surface deposits: for
• Chemical or electrochemical process in which a solid,
usually a metal, is attacked by an environment agent,
resulting in partial or complete dissolution
• A corrosive environment is one in which mechanism
are available for such a process – associated with

• Dentistry uses a wide metals for

 Intraorally: restoration & prosthetics device
 Extraorally: instrument, tools & equipment
(should not be corrode during routine sterilized)
• Oral environment represent a corrosion change to
metallic devices as it is highly conducive to
electrochemical action:
 Warm & moist
 Fluctuation in temperature & pH
• Although these condition is physiological (benign
& normal), many metals represent substantial
problem – especially in the context of many years
of exposure that are expected
• Metal should be sufficiently inert
• Diet & component of saliva – promote corrosion
• Gross corrosion: Unacceptable in dentistry –
structural integrity. Metal ions released may
induce inflammation

• Superficial corrosion (tarnish) - should not

occur, as discoloration might give poor aesthetic
• Loss of material may go further to cause pitting &
reduce the mechanical properties of object
• Some heavy metal are toxic, corrosion product
may pose a threat of local systemic effect

Action of moisture, atmosphere, acid/alkaline

solution & certain chemical
1) Tarnish – act as precursor of corrosion (tarnish
film accumulates components that chemically
attack metallic surface)
2) Saliva - water, oxygen, Cl- (corrosive attack)
3) Acidic solution – phosphoric, acetic, lactic acids
(promote corrosion)
1st step: loss of an electron

1) Electrochemical / wet / galvanic corrosion

 Require present of electrolyte & a pathway for
transport of electron (electrical circuit)
 Seldom isolated & almost invariably is
accompanied by chemical corrosion
 More important in dental material
 Electrochemical mechanism of corrosion:
 Based on electrochemical cell (3 basic
component): Anode, cathode & electolyte
 Anode: +ve ions & free electron is formed
(oxidation & corrosion) – eg amalgam
 Cathode: -ve ions & consume free electron
(reduction) – eg gold alloy restoration
 Electrolyte: Saliva

2) Chemical / dry corrosion

 Occur in absence of electrolyte
Metallic + Halogenation/ Chemical
Non-metallic Sulfurization compound
(Direct combination) Rx (formed)
1) Galvanic Corrosion
Occur between:
 Dissimilar metals of different compositions are
in physical contact. This is also called as electro-
galvanism. Occurs by flow of galvanic current –
produce galvanic shock
 Restoration of similar alloys – which never have
exactly same surface, composition or structure
 Single metal – current may also exist
2) Stress Corrosion
A type of electrochemical corrosion
 Occurs due to combination effect of mechanical
stress + corrosive environment
 Surface irregularities (pits & notches) act as sites of
stress concentration
 Contraindicated in: Excessive burnishing of margins
3) Crevice Corrosion
A type of concentration stress corrosion.
 Occurs due to microleakage between restoration
& tooth margin because of the presence of food
debris and other deposits
 Good oral hygiene is significant for minimizing
4) Concentration Cell / Pitting Corrosion
A type of electrochemical corrosion
 Occurs due to variation in electrolytes or in
composition of given electrolyte in a system
 Example 2 types:
(1) Electrolyte produce by food debris –
interproximal areas
(2) Normal saliva – if poor oral hygiene
 Different in oxygen concentration
 E.g. Irregularities (pits, scratches & cracks) in
restoration surface
The region at the bottom of the pit is an anode, and the surface
around the rim of the pit is the cathode. The ionic current flows
through the electrolyte and the electronic current flows through
the metals.

Gold coating over restoration

 Ineffective as gold is soft
 When surface becomes scratched or pitted to
such depth that the base metal is exposed,
 the base metal will be corroded at a very
rapid rate
 because concentration cells have been
created and two dissimilar metals are in direct
Metallic & non-metallic coating
 Ineffective due to:
1) Too thin
2) Do not adhere to the underlying metal
3) Could be readily scratched
4) Easily attacked by oral fluid
5) Incomplete

Paint / Non-conductive film

 Effective for 2 dissimilar metal – as surface area
available for reduction reaction has been decreased
Formation of Oxide Layer
 Effective protection utilized certain metals that
develop a thin, adherent, highly protective film by
reaction with environment
 Such a metal is said to be passive (eg Cr, Ti & Pd)
 Pitting may occur in presence of chlorides in the
environment, causing the oxide layer to break up
 Electro-galvanism present in mouth, promoting
corrosion (metal with corrosion resistant is
highly important consideration)
 Critical factors: diet, bacterial activity, smoking,
drugs & oral hygiene
 Biocompatibility is influenced by corrosion
 No lab test to duplicate oral environment
 Test using sulphides & chlorides
 Currently to reduce galvanic shock:
 A varnish coating on the surface of metallic
 Avoid clinical procedure that exacerbate the
(Eg insertion of amalgam –anode- directly
in contact with gold crown –cathode- ) –
discoloration & metallic taste occur