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Br Dent J. 2003 Jun 14;194(11):613-8; discussion 609.

Amalgam and composite use in UK general dental practice in 2001.

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Primary Dental Care, University of Birmingham School of Dentistry, Birmingham.



This study determined the reasons for dentists' choice of materials, in particular amalgam and resin composite, in Great Britain.


A questionnaire was developed to elicit this information. The names and addresses of 1,000 UK-based dentists were selected at random. The questionnaire was mailed to these dentists with an explanatory letter and reply-paid envelope.


Six hundred and fifty four replies were received. Regarding choice of material, 100% of respondents cited clinical indication as the most influential factor, although patients' aesthetic demands (99%), patients' choice (95%) and patients' financial situation (92%) were also reported to influence respondents' choice. Thirty-five per cent of respondents used composite 'sometimes', 15% 'often', and 1% 'always' in extensive load-bearing cavities in molar teeth. For composite restorations in posterior teeth, 92% 'always', 'often' or 'sometimes' used the total etch technique and 53% never used rubber dam. Seventy per cent of respondents agreed with the statement 'discontinuation of amalgam restricts a dentist's ability to adequately treat patients'. Eighty-one per cent considered that the growth in the use of composites increased the total cost of oral healthcare.


Forty nine per cent of the respondents from England and Wales seldom or never place large composite restorations in molar teeth. Their choice of material is influenced greatly by clinical indications, and patients' aesthetic demands.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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