Background: This article aims to update the existing systematic review evidence elicited by Mickenautsch et al. up to 18 January 2008 (published in the European Journal of Paediatric Dentistry in 2009) and addressing the review question of whether, in the same dentition and same cavity class, glass-ionomer cement (GIC) restored cavities show less recurrent carious lesions on cavity margins than cavities restored with amalgam.
Methods: The systematic literature search was extended beyond the original search date and a further hand-search and reference check was done. The quality of accepted trials was assessed, using updated quality criteria, and the risk of bias was investigated in more depth than previously reported. In addition, the focus of quantitative synthesis was shifted to single datasets extracted from the accepted trials.
Results: The database search (up to 10 August 2010) identified 1 new trial, in addition to the 9 included in the original systematic review, and 11 further trials were included after a hand-search and reference check. Of these 21 trials, 11 were excluded and 10 were accepted for data extraction and quality assessment. Thirteen dichotomous datasets of primary outcomes and 4 datasets with secondary outcomes were extracted. Meta-analysis and cumulative meta-analysis were used in combining clinically homogenous datasets. The overall results of the computed datasets suggest that GIC has a higher caries-preventive effect than amalgam for restorations in permanent teeth. No difference was found for restorations in the primary dentition.
Conclusion: This outcome is in agreement with the conclusions of the original systematic review. Although the findings of the trials identified in this update may be considered to be less affected by attrition- and publication bias, their risk of selection- and detection/performance bias is high. Thus, verification of the currently available results requires further high-quality randomised control trials.