Study suggest 84% survival of composite filings in children and adolescents after eight years

shutterstock_54042145 - Child, dentists & X-ray

The aim of this study was to assess the durability of Class I and class II composite resin restorations (CRR) in children and adolescents placed in Public Dental Health Service (PDHS ) clinics.

The was a prospective study all children and adolescents up to 18 years treated between November 1998 and December 2002 in all PDHS clinics, in need of one or more Class I and Class II restorations in permanent teeth having a CRR, were included in the follow-up.  Dentists in all clinics participated in education and calibration course prior to participation.  Data for each CRR was completed at baseline and annually. Those leaving the PDHS were contacted to ascertain details of any private dentist who were requested to complete questionnaires.

  • 2881 participants  (57.2% girls and 42.8% boys) were followed up.
  • 4355 CRR were placed,  78% in 12–19 years olds
  • Ten dentists placed more than 100 restorations each, while 71 dentists placed < 25 restorations.
  • 49% of all cavities were Class I and 41.7% Class II restorations (mo: 23.9%, do: 15.6%, mod: 2.2%, ≥4 surfaces 9.3%).
  • The majority of the restorations were placed in molars (3507) versus 19.5% in premolars (848), 51% (2216) were in the upper jaw and 49% (2139) in the lower jaw.
  • Post operative sensitivity was observed in 1.5% of the evaluations
  • Kaplan–Meier analysis showed a cumulative survival at 8 years of 84.3%, resulting in an annual failure rate of 2%.
  • Lower patient age, more than one restoration per patient, placement of a base material and placement of CRR: in molars, in cavities with high number of surfaces, in lower jaw teeth, showed all significant higher failure rates.
  • Five variables had significant importance for the end point, replacement/repair of the resin composite restorations: age of patient, age of operator, jaw, tooth type and cavity size.

The authors concluded

Posterior CRR placed in children and adolescents in Public Dental Health clinics showed an acceptable durability with annual failure rates comparable with those of randomized controlled CRR studies in adults.


This is an interesting study of the performance of CRR in routine clinical practice. Although it is not completely clear from reading the paper what proportion of the CRR filings placed during the 4-year period were available for assessment


Pallesen U, van Dijken JW, Halken J, Hallonsten AL, Höigaard R. Longevity of posterior resin composite restorations in permanent teeth in Public Dental Health Service: A prospective 8 years follow up. J Dent. 2012 Dec 7. doi:pii: S0300-5712(12)00323-5. 10.1016/j.jdent.2012.11.021. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed  PMID: 23228499.



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Derek Richards

Derek Richards is a specialist in dental public health, Director of the Centre for Evidence-Based Dentistry and Specialist Advisor to the Scottish Dental Clinical Effectiveness Programme (SDCEP) Development Team. A former editor of the Evidence-Based Dentistry Journal and chief blogger for the Dental Elf website until December 2023. Derek has been involved with a wide range of evidence-based initiatives both nationally and internationally since 1994. Derek retired from the NHS in 2019 remaining as a part-time senior lecturer at Dundee Dental School until the end of 2023.

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