MCP technology: what is it and how does it benefit dentists and patients?

Dentists were introduced to a new development in restorative dentistry – methacrylate-functionalized calcium phosphate (MCP) technology – in January 2022. MCP is important because it is a biointeractive molecule that can help teeth remineralize and recover from the damage caused by dental caries. It can also act as a precursor of nucleation sites for the formation of apatite at the material-tooth interface. The versatility of MCP is also significant: it can be incorporated into a wide range of dental materials. MCP technology was patented by Pulpdent Corporation and given the trade name Crysta. It is currently available in two products: a universal composite called Activa Presto and a coating called Lime-Lite Enhanced.

MCP enables light-cured, single-syringe application of a biointeractive material. It has been shown to create an apatite-like interface when in contact with saliva, helping to occlude the material-tooth interface against bacterial ingress. The incorporation of MCP into a liner allows simple and direct application for deeper preparations. The coating adheres to dentin and bonds easily to traditional and biointeractive restorative materials. When used in conjunction with composites containing MCP, dentists have the ability to create ion-releasing restorations that can create a consistent seal throughout cavity preparation.


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When dentists place bonded restorations, acidic materials are used which allow the formation of a hybrid layer. This process of creating a “tissue engineered” hybrid layer interface is, as we know, quite complex. Many factors can interfere with the formation of good initial and long-term joints. For example, acids in etchants and bonding agents release dentin fossilized enzymes (MMPs) that degrade the hybrid layer. Water trapped in the dentinal tubules presents another problem by releasing various proteolytic enzymes from the dentin, which bind to the hybrid layer.

This ultimately transforms the initial hydrophobic layer into a hydrophilic layer and over time creates a “failure from within” for the restoration. Scientists have worked to solve this problem and prevent this internal degradation. Materials containing MCP could be a major breakthrough in this field.

Many benefits of MCP

The action of MCP is not diminished by the application of a binding agent. In fact, bonding is an essential part of the restorative process, providing the initial bond strength for each restorative material. The key point to understand, as described above, is that when the proteolytic enzymatic activity of the restored dentin kicks in, it breaks the bond and makes it more hydrophilic. But ion release from MCP could permeate this hydrophilic bond and inhibit further proteolytic degradation and help maintain bond strength over time.

The biointeractive action of MCP technology can also help seal gaps due to the ubiquitous polymerization shrinkage of methacrylate materials. All methacrylate materials shrink; this is a scientific fact and a primary cause of secondary decay around composite restorations. The release of ions from products containing MCP can remineralize dentin and form a seal over time to help protect the tooth from bacterial incursion that leads to secondary decay.

From a clinical perspective, products containing MCP pave the way for efforts to reduce marginal leakage, prevent enzymatic proteolytic degradation of the hybrid layer, and provide nucleation sites for remineralization of damaged tooth structure. and the restoration-tooth interface. We have been using products containing MCP at my university for some time now. Because they are easy to place, apply and use, practitioners prefer to use them. In my opinion, materials containing MCP belong in all dental practices and can be used for multiple applications. Study them for yourself and see how they can work in your practice.


Editor’s note: This article originally appeared in the February 2022 print edition of Dental economy.

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