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J Dent Res. 1997 Nov;76(11):1787-98.

The influence of the amalgam alloy on the survival of amalgam restorations: a secondary analysis of multiple controlled clinical trials.

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Dental School, University of Nijmegen, The Netherlands.


Data from 14 independent controlled clinical trials on the oral behavior of Classes 1 and 2 amalgam restorations, with a follow-up between five and 15 years, were re-evaluated by secondary analysis for the influence of alloy composition on the survival of amalgam restorations. For the analysis, 3119 restorations were available, which were made from 24 different alloys by a group of seven operators. The alloys were divided into four groups according to their zinc content (zinc-containing and zinc-free) and their copper content (conventional and high-copper). During the follow-up of the trials, the restorations were annually assessed for failures, which were classified as to (1) restoration-, (2) restorative process-, and (3) patient-related reasons. With the restoration-related failures, survival functions of the restorations were estimated by alloy and alloy group. The total number of failed restorations was 481, of which 77% were restoration-related and 14% process-related. Eighty percent of the restoration-related failures were due to some form of fracture of the amalgam. Restorations of conventional zinc-free alloys had the shortest survival. After 13 years, only 25% survived. Zinc and a high copper content had an equally favorable influence on the survival rate, which was 70% after 13 years when either was present. The highest survival rates were of restorations of zinc-containing high-copper alloys: 85% after 13 years. The zinc and copper contents of the alloy contributed to the corrosion resistance of the amalgams, which in turn influenced the survival of the restoration. The current ISO Standard 1559 on alloys for dental amalgam should be modified to account for these factors that influence the survival of amalgam restorations.

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