Primary dentition exists until beginning of mixed dentition with the emergence (eruption) of the permanent first molars at age six, which erupt distal to the primary second molars. Thus the permanent molars have no primary predecessors.
• Primary teeth are smaller in overall dimensions but bear resemblance to permanent teeth except the primary Mandibular first molar which is the most unique primary tooth morphologically
• Primary teeth are lighter in color
• Primary teeth have more pronounced cervical ridges (i.e. cervical 1/3 B & L height of contour)
• Primary teeth appear more constricted at the cervix (neck)
• Primary roots are long and narrow in relation to crown width and length
Childhood caries (tooth decay) consists of a form of tooth decay that affects the milk teeth (also known as baby or primary teeth) of children. This may range from tooth decay in a single tooth to rampant caries affecting all the teeth in the mouth. Primary teeth in young children are vital to their development and every effort should be made to retain these teeth for as long as is possible.
Dental fillings or restorations have been used as an intervention to repair these damaged teeth. Oral health professionals need to make astute decisions about the type of restorative (filling) material they choose to best manage their patients with childhood caries. This decision is by no means an easy one as remarkable advances in dental restorative dental materials over the last 10 years has seen the introduction of a multitude of different filling materials claiming to provide the best performance in terms of durability, aesthetics, symptom relief, etc when placed in the mouth. This review sought to compare the different types of dental materials against each other for the same outcomes.
Restorative procedures are carried out daily in children all over the world. The rationale for choosing one type of material over another for a particular outcome should be based on clinical efficacy which is best highlighted by clinical trials. It is thus extremely disappointing that only three trials that compared three different types of materials were suitable for inclusion into this review. There were no significant differences found in all three trials for all of the outcomes assessed. The absence of high quality trials that guide clinical decisions in practice (one of the cornerstones of evidence based dentistry) is of great concern as informed decisions by both clinicians and patients on the best filling material to use in a particular clinical situation would be open to a number of biases.