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J Dent. 2013 Nov;41(11):960-7. doi: 10.1016/j.jdent.2013.02.010. Epub 2013 Feb 27.

Do socioeconomic determinants affect the quality of posterior dental restorations? A multilevel approach.

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Post-Graduate Program in Dentistry, Federal University of Pelotas, RS, Brazil; Post-Graduate Program in Epidemiology, Federal University of Pelotas, RS, Brazil.



This study aimed to evaluate posterior restorations placed in young adults, investigating the association between social determinants experienced during the life course and the quality of tooth fillings.


A representative sample (n=720) of all 5914 individuals who were born in Pelotas in 1982 was prospectively investigated, and posterior restorations were assessed at 24 years of age. Exploratory variables included demographic and socioeconomic, oral health and dental service payment mode during the life course. Tooth-related variables (type of tooth, material and size of cavity) were also analysed.


Multilevel logistic regression models showed that individuals who were always poor from birth to age 23 [odds ratio (OR) 2.35 (1.38-4.00)] and whose mothers had less years of education at their birth (OR 2.60 (1.44-4.68)) were with unsatisfactory restorations in posterior teeth more often. In addition, caries presence at age 15 (high decayed, missing, filled teeth (DMFT) tertile) (OR 1.95 (1.25-3.03)) and cavities with four or more surfaces (OR 18.67 (9.25-37.68)) were associated with the outcome.


These results show that socioeconomic characteristics of the individuals play an important role in restoration failures, reinforcing the need for preventive dental strategies and public policies to reduce inequalities as a major topic of oral health. In addition, the size of cavity appears as the most important determinant for restoration failure.


Individual socioeconomic characteristics were associated with failure in posterior restorations in detriment of other clinical variables such as restorative material and type of tooth.


Cohort studies; Dental restorations; Epidemiology; Failure; Longevity; Posterior teeth

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