Portland cement-based formulations blended with radiopacifying agents are popular endodontic materials for various root filling and pulp capping applications. Iodoform (CHI3
) is an alternative candidate radiopacifier whose impact on the setting, bioactivity, antimicrobial properties and cytotoxicity of white Portland cement were evaluated in this study. Isothermal conduction calorimetry and 29
Si magic angle spinning nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MAS NMR) showed that 20 wt% iodoform had no significant impact on the kinetics of cement hydration with respect to the formation of the major calcium silicate hydrate (C-S-H) gel product (throughout the 28-day observation). Conversely, transmission electron microscopy demonstrated that iodine was incorporated into the ettringite (Ca₆Al₂(SO₄)₃(OH)₁₂·26H₂O) product phase. Both iodoform-blended and pure Portland cements exhibited comparable biocompatibility with MG63 human osteosarcoma cells and similar bioactivity with respect to the formation of a hydroxyapatite layer upon immersion in simulated body fluid. By virtue of their high alkalinity, both cements inhibited the growth of Staphylococcus aureus
, Pseudomonas aeruginosa
and Escherichia coli
. However, in all cases, iodoform enhanced the antimicrobial effect and significantly reduced the minimum bactericidal concentration of the cement. In conclusion, iodoform offers antimicrobial advantages in Portland cement-based formulations where oral biofilm formation threatens the success of root filling materials and dentine substitutes. The reactivity with the calcium aluminosulfate components of the hydrating cement matrix warrants further research to understand the long-term stability of the cement matrix in the presence of iodoform.
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