Purpose: More than five hundred million direct dental restorations are placed each year worldwide. In about 55% of the cases, resin composites or compomers are used, and in 45% amalgam. The longevity of posterior resin restorations is well documented. However, data on resin composites that are placed without enamel/dentin conditioning and resin composites placed with self-etching adhesive systems are missing.
Material and methods: The database SCOPUS was searched for clinical trials on posterior resin composites without restricting the search to the year of publication. The inclusion criteria were: (1) prospective clinical trial with at least 2 years of observation; (2) minimum number of restorations at last recall = 20; (3) report on dropout rate; (4) report of operative technique and materials used; (5) utilization of Ryge or modified Ryge evaluation criteria. For amalgam, only those studies were included that directly compared composite resin restorations with amalgam. For the statistical analysis, a linear mixed model was used with random effects to account for the heterogeneity between the studies. P-values under 0.05 were considered significant.
Results: Of the 373 clinical trials, 59 studies met the inclusion criteria. In 70% of the studies, Class II and Class I restorations had been placed. The overall success rate of composite resin restorations was about 90% after 10 years, which was not different from that of amalgam. Restorations with compomers had a significantly lower longevity. The main reason for replacement were bulk fractures and caries adjacent to restorations. Both of these incidents were infrequent in most studies and accounted only for about 6% of all replaced restorations after 10 years. Restorations with macrofilled composites and compomer suffered significantly more loss of anatomical form than restorations with other types of material. Restorations that were placed without enamel acid etching and a dentin bonding agent showed significantly more marginal staining and detectable margins compared to those restorations placed using the enamel-etch or etch-and-rinse technique; restorations with self-etching systems were between the other groups. Restorations with compomer suffered significantly more chippings (repairable fracture) than restorations with other materials, which did not statistically differ among each other. Restorations that were placed with a rubber-dam showed significantly fewer material fractures that needed replacement, and this also had a significant effect on the overall longevity.
Conclusion: Restorations with hybrid and microfilled composites that were placed with the enamel-etching technique and rubber-dam showed the best overall performance; the longevity of these restorations was similar to amalgam restorations. Compomer restorations, restorations placed with macrofilled composites, and resin restorations with no-etching or self-etching adhesives demonstrated significant shortcomings and shorter longevity.