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J Dent. 2004 Jul;32(5):371-7.

The amalgam-free dental school.

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  • 1Department of Cariology and Endodontology, College of Dental Sciences, University Medical Centre Nijmegen, P O Box 9101, 6500 HB Nijmegen, The Netherlands.



To review the change in teaching of Restorative Dentistry at Nijmegen dental school over the period 1986 to the present.


In 1986, class I and II resin composite restorations were included in the pre-clinical program. However, these courses still started with class I and II amalgam restorations. From 1990 on, the number of amalgam restorations placed in the clinic gradually decreased while the number of resin composite restorations increased. Meanwhile, resin composite had become the first choice for treatment of primary caries (class I and class II) lesions. Finally in 1994, the pre-clinical training started with resin composite restorations before dental amalgam was taught and the advantage of a minimal preparation was further emphasized. Since 2001 the teaching of dental amalgam ceased at the dental school. This was not an abrupt change but the result of a long transitional stage during which it was gradually substituted by resin composite. This step-by-step introduction allowed the acceptance of composite resin by the staff as an alternative for dental amalgam in posterior restorations. As in 2001 students placed only 2.5 amalgam restorations before graduation, it was decided to stop with the pre-clinical training program.


The introduction of resin composites meant an important change in teaching restorative dentistry at Nijmegen dental school. It was not just a change in materials and techniques but also a change in treatment philosophy. The reduced need for preparation and the strengthening effect on the remaining tooth were the principal reasons for the shift from dental amalgam to adhesive dentistry with resin composite at Nijmegen dental school.

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