Study of Dentists’ Usage of Amalgam Reveals Unexpected Results



American dentists are utilizing more amalgam restorations than composites, according to the results of two studies in the June issue of the Journal of the American Dental Association.

The results are surprising, considering the improvements in resin-based technology and the possible harmful effects of amalgam. Despite this information, amalgam is still a material utilized by dental schools.

Dr. Sonia K. Makhija, an assistant professor of dentistry at the University of Alabama, and her team analyzed nearly 5,600 restorations of carious lesions in the posterior teeth. Amalgam was used in more than 3,000 of the restorations, while composite was used for the rest. This study focused solely on amalgam and composite, not any other material.

Even though this is only a miniscule fraction of the practices of all dentists, there is reason to believe this is a large enough sample size to indicate how dentists in the United States operate.

The other study involved the way Canadian and American dental students were taught to conduct procedures when it came to restoring posterior teeth. From 2009 to 2010, about half of the schools taught their students to use resin-based composites. Despite the increase, the research indicated that these numbers paled in comparison to the way dental schools in Great Britain and Ireland use composite.

Composite may look better and isn’t as invasive because there is little cavity preparation involved.

The results can’t be construed positively or negatively at this point because it is unknown what the long-term results of each method will be.