Purpose of Review:
Defective dental restorations are amongst the most common encounters in general dental practice. Replacement of defective restorations is often costly and commonly results in the sacrifice of sound tooth structure, thereby compromising the vitality of the dental pulp, potentially resulting in the acceleration of the restoration cycle and premature loss of the restored tooth. With advances in adhesive dentistry, 'reparative dentistry' is becoming an important area of minimally invasive dentistry. This article highlights the detrimental biological effects of restoration replacement and provides an overview of current knowledge and understanding of restoration repair as a safe and effective alternative approach to replacement.
The literature reviewed showed that a growing body of evidence from clinical studies indicates that repaired restorations have similar survival outcomes in patients with low and medium caries risk compared to replaced restorations and are clinically acceptable over a 12-year follow-up of clinical service. Teeth with repaired restorations are less likely to require aggressive interventions such as endodontic treatment or extraction compared to those with replaced restorations.
Repair options should be carried out wherever possible as minimally interventional procedures in order to increase the longevity of the remaining part of the restoration and the restored tooth unit. Restoration replacement should be considered as the last resort when there are no other viable alternatives.