From amalgam to composite: selection of restorative materials and restoration longevity in Finland

Acta Odontol Scand. 2001 Apr;59(2):57-62. doi: 10.1080/000163501750157090.


The aim of this study was to obtain information on restorative dental care in Finland and to analyze the changes in treatment over a 5-year period. A random sample of dentists was drawn from the registers of the health authorities and the dental association in Finland, and in the spring of 1997 a questionnaire was sent requesting the dentists to record information for each restoration placed during a given period. A total of 1,229 dentists were contacted, and 659 responded. The dentists treated 5,305 adults during the study period and placed 6,322 restorations. The most common restorative material was composite resin, which was used in 74.9% of the restorations, whereas amalgam was used in 4.8% and glass ionomers in 9.4% of the restorations. The median ages of failed restorations were nearly 12 years for amalgam, slightly less than 5 years for composite, and slightly more than 4 years for glass ionomer. The results indicate that clinical dentistry in Finland has made a definite step towards the post-amalgam era. However, the functional periods of the failed tooth-colored restorations were disappointingly short and warrant some serious consideration.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Composite Resins
  • Dental Amalgam
  • Dental Caries / epidemiology
  • Dental Restoration Failure*
  • Dental Restoration, Permanent / methods
  • Dental Restoration, Permanent / statistics & numerical data*
  • Esthetics, Dental
  • Female
  • Finland / epidemiology
  • Glass Ionomer Cements
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Practice Patterns, Dentists' / statistics & numerical data*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Tooth Fractures / epidemiology


  • Composite Resins
  • Glass Ionomer Cements
  • Dental Amalgam