This paper reviews recent studies on self-setting calcium phosphate cements (CPC). Discussions are focused on the cement setting reactions, the products formed, the effects of the products on properties of the cement, and in vivo characteristics of CPC. Although cementation can occur in systems based on several different mixtures, data in the literature at present indicate that mixtures of tetracalcium phosphate and dicalcium phosphate (or dicalcium phosphate dihydrate) may be most desirable because they produce cements that have greater strengths and contain nearly pure hydroxyapatite. The strengths of CPC are considerably lower than ceramic calcium phosphate biomaterial and are also lower than some of the dental cements. On the other hand, the combination of self-setting capability and high biocompatibility makes CPC a unique biomaterial. Near perfect adaptation of the cement to the tissue surfaces in a defect, and an optimum resorption rate followed by new bone formation are some of the distinctive advantages of CPC. In its present state CPC appears to be suitable for a number of applications. Much remains to be done to further improve its properties to meet the requirements for different applications.
The Ceramic Society of Japan