Background. Even today, use of Glass Ionomer Cements (GIC) as restorative material is indicated for uncooperative patients.
Aim. The study aimed at estimating the surface roughness of different GICs using or not their proprietary surface coatings and at observing the interfaces between cement and coating through SEM.
Materials and methods. Forty specimens have been obtained and divided into 4 groups: Fuji IX (IX), Fuji IX/G-Coat Plus (IXC), Vitremer (V), Vitremer/Finishing Gloss (VFG). Samples were obtained using silicone moulds to simulate class I restorations. All specimens were processed for profilometric evaluation. The statistical differences of surface roughness between groups were assessed using One-Way Analysis of Variance (One-Way ANOVA) (p<0.05). The Two-Way Analysis of Variance (Two-Way ANOVA) was used to evaluate the influence of two factors: restoration material and presence of coating. Coated restoration specimens (IXC and VFG) were sectioned perpendicular to the restoration surface and processed for SEM evaluation.
Results. No statistical differences in roughness could be noticed between groups or factors. Following microscopic observation, interfaces between restoration material and coating were better for group IXC than for group VFG.
Conclusions. When specimens are obtained simulating normal clinical procedures, the presence of surface protection does not significantly improve the surface roughness of GICs.