Objective: To compare the survival of glass ionomer cement (GIC) restorations placed in a dental clinic setting using both the atraumatic restorative treatment (ART) approach with hand instruments, and conventional cavity preparation with rotary instruments.
Method and materials: Two encapsulated high-strength conventional GICs (Fuji IX GP, Ketac-Molar Aplicap) were placed in 82 Class I and 53 Class II preparations and one encapsulated non-gamma 2 amalgam alloy (GK-amalgam) was placed in 32 Class I preparations, in the primary molars of 60 Chinese children with a mean age of 7.40 +/- 1.24 (SD) years. Thus, 9 treatment groups were formed.
Results: After two years, there were no significant survival differences found among 7 of the 9 treatment groups (p = 0.99). However, two groups comprising Fuji IX GP and Ketac-Molar Aplicap placed in Class II cavities prepared using the ART approach showed significantly lower restoration survivals (p < 0.001). Only 3 of the 72 initially sealed fissures adjacent to the restorations appeared to retain any GIC material.
Conclusions: In a clinic setting, both the ART hand instrument and conventional rotary instrument methods were equally suitable for high Class I restoration survival, but not for Class II restoration survival where the conventional cavity preparation method was preferable.