Influence of Mixing Vehicle on Dissociation of Calcium Hydroxide in Solution

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The antimicrobial effects of aqueous preparations of calcium hydroxide have been demonstrated in the past. Calcium hydroxide, when dissolved in water, dissociates into hydroxide and calcium ions. The presence of hydroxide ions in a solution makes it antimicrobial. Recently it was shown that the use of glycerin as a mixing vehicle facilitates placement of calcium hydroxide in the root canals. The influence of nonaqueous mixing vehicles on the dissociation of calcium hydroxide is not clearly understood. In this study the conductivity of aqueous and nonaqueous solutions of calcium hydroxide was measured. The conductivity values for saturated solutions of calcium hydroxide in water was 7.3 ± 3 mS/cm. The conductivity of calcium hydroxide in pure glycerin or propylene glycol was essentially zero. It was concluded that use of nonaqueous mixing vehicles may impede the effectiveness of calcium hydroxide as a root canal dressing.

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