Gutta Percha is the inspissated juice of the tree Isonandra Gutta, extensive forests of which are found in the East Indies. It belongs to the natural order Sapotaceae. It is in the form of tough, flexible pieces, which have been freed from impurities by cutting it into thin slices, and then washing and tearing it into shreds by heavy machinery while it is softened in boiling water. It may be more thoroughly purified by dissolving it in either chloroform, benzol or hot turpentine, thus causing the impurities to separate, when it is evaporated to dryness. Crude gutta percha is of a chocolate or reddish-brown color; commercial gutta percha is of a grayish-white color, and the variety which has been purified by dissolving it in chloroform, etc., is almost white, greasy to the touch, and of a leathery smell, like that of India rubber. It is insoluble in water at any temperature, and is a bad conductor of heat and electricity. At ordinary temperatures it is tough, hard and inelastic, but toward 120° F. it softens, and at 1500 it becomes soft and plastic, and may be moulded into any form, which it will retain on cooling, having, however, a perceptible shrinkage. Gutta percha is dissolved cold by chloroform and sulphide of carbon; benzol requires the aid of heat, and oil of turpentine requires to be quite hot. The alkalies have no action upon it; but concentrated nitric acid attacks it rapidly, with effervescence and the escape of nitrous fumes.

Dental Uses

Combined with mineral substances it forms a plastic material for temporary fillings of teeth, and, colored with vermilion, is used for taking impressions of the mouth and for the base plates of plastic work. It is often employed as a filling material, on account of its non-conducting property, protecting a partially exposed pulp or sensitive dentine surface from irritation when metallic fillings would not be tolerated. Gutta percha has also been used for interdental splints.

The preparation known as "Hill's Stopping" is composed of gutta percha, quicklime and feldspar, the mineral ingredients being incorporated with the gutta percha while the latter is in a plastic condition from the effects of heat.

Solution of Gutta Percha - Liquor Gutta Percha, Chloropercha, is composed of gutta percha,cDental Uses 1147 c; chloroform,c; or a thick solution may be made by dissolving as much gutta percha in chloroform as will give the desired consistence (generally like that of thick cream).

Solution of gutta percha is a useful application for the relief of odontalgia arising from an exposed and inflamed pulp; also for capping an exposed pulp, a more durable material being inserted over it. The chloroform of the solution quickly evaporates, leaving an impermeable covering of the gutta percha, which is non-irritable, non-conductive and protective. It is also a useful application for inflamed or abraded surfaces, chaps, skin affections, etc. Gutta percha dissolved in chloroform {chloro-percha) is also a popular and efficient material for root fillings, as are also cones of gutta perch a softened by heat or dipped in chloroform. The chloro-percha solution and cotton is a useful agent, the chloro-percha solution being of such a consistence, neither too thin nor too thick, that the cotton will absorb it. Being of an adhesive nature, it will readily adhere to walls of cavities and to tooth-surfaces, and is useful to retain medicines and exclude moisture, to wedge the teeth, to force back gum tissue, to assist in retaining clamps in position, etc. The red gutta percha of base plates is preferred by some in making the chloro-percha solution on account of its color rendering it easy to detect in the mouth, and also to determine how much of the solution the cotton has absorbed.