The aim of this study was to investigate the current teaching of posterior composite resin restorations to undergraduate dental students in Ireland and the United Kingdom (UK). The investigation was a follow-up to a survey undertaken in 1997.
A questionnaire was distributed by e-mail to the Heads of Departments of Restorative Dentistry/Units of Operative Dentistry in each of the 15 dental schools with undergraduate dental degree programmes in Ireland and the UK. The questionnaire sought information relating to the teaching of posterior composite resin restorations in each dental school.
Fifteen completed questionnaires were returned (response rate = 100%). All schools (n = 15) taught the placement of composite resin restorations in occlusal cavities, 14 schools taught composite resin placement in two-surface occlusoproximal cavities and nine schools taught composite resin placement in three-surface occlusoproximal cavities. Respondents anticipated that the amount of preclinical teaching of posterior composite resin placement will increase twofold over the next 5 years, whilst the corresponding teaching of amalgam will fall to two-thirds its current level. Variation was found between dental schools in the teaching of the principles of cavity design, contraindications to placement, indications for lining and basing techniques, matrix and wedging techniques, and the use of curing lights.
The amount of teaching of posterior composite resin restorations in undergraduate dental schools in Ireland and the UK has increased since the time of a previous survey in 1997. Composite resin may soon equal or overtake amalgam as the material of choice when restoring posterior cavities in Irish and UK dental schools. There was, however, much variation in the nature and extent of the teaching and the techniques taught.