Does using a rubber dam to isolate teeth from the rest of the mouth during a dental procedure improve the success of tooth repairs?

When dental practitioners need to repair a tooth, they often isolate it from the rest of the mouth to:

‐ keep away saliva to prevent it from impairing the bonding of materials;
‐ reduce aerosols produced during the dental procedure to a certain extent;
‐ stop materials, liquids or instruments used for the repair from being swallowed or damaging the mouth.

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Teeth restored using atraumatic restorative treatment may be more likely to fail, but evidence is low quality

Dental caries (tooth decay) has been considered the most common global disease. Conventional methods (drill and fill) involve the use of electric drills to clear away decayed areas of tooth before filling. Local anaesthetic (painkiller) is normally injected to prevent pain during the procedure. Conventional treatments require highly trained dental health personnel, access to electricity, appropriate tools and are more expensive. These factors may limit access especially in underdeveloped regions of service provision. Atraumatic Restorative Treatment (ART) is an alternative approach for managing dental decay, which involves removal of decayed tissue using hand instruments alone, usually without the use of anaesthesia (injected painkiller) and electrical equipment. Continue reading

Evidence is lacking on adhesive bonding for amalgam fillings


c. Spectrum Family Dentistry, under CC Licence

Tooth decay is a common problem affecting both children and adults. Cavities form in the teeth by the action of acid produced by bacteria present in dental plaque or biofilm. A number of techniques and a variety of materials can be used to restore or fill teeth affected by decay. One of the most commonly used and comparatively cheap filling materials is dental amalgam (a mixture of mercury and metal alloy particles). The review authors sought to evaluate the added benefit of using an adhesive to bond amalgam to tooth structure to see if bonded fillings would last longer and perform better. Continue reading

Should you use a crown or a filling to restore a root-filled tooth?

0244 Rosario Van Tulpe

Photo by Rosario Van Tulpe, reproduced under Creative Commons licence

Root filling is a fairly routine dental procedure in which the injured or dead nerve of a tooth is removed and replaced by a root canal filling. However, the restoration of root-filled teeth can be quite challenging as these teeth tend to be weaker than healthy ones. A dentist may use crowns (restorations made outside of the mouth and then cemented into place) or conventional fillings (direct filling with materials such as amalgam or composite/plastic resin). Although crowns may help to protect root-filled teeth by covering them, conventional fillings demand less in terms of time, costs and removal of tooth structure. Continue reading

Have your say and help us to prioritise…


Photo copyright Erik Christensen under Creative Commons Licence

The Cochrane Oral Health Group has begun the task of prioritising clinically important systematic review titles, so that we have a core portfolio to maintain on the Cochrane Library.

We started by defining 8 specialties, and then by asking the authors of our reviews in each specialty to rank our existing reviews on how important they felt they were to clinical practice and to patients. We also asked each group to identify any gaps they could see or topics they felt had not been addressed.

We’re now looking for feedback on 6 of the areas. Do you agree with the rankings? Do you think the new title proposals are useful?

Click on the links in the list below to read the discussion documents and view the rankings for each specialty:

You can send feedback on any of the discussion documents to us via email:, or you can visit our website and fill in the online form in the right hand column. The deadline for receipt of comments is Friday 1 August.