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Operative Dentistry - Best Practices

Resin-based Composite

(last modified August 8, 2014)

Direct resin-based composites (RBC) comprise an increasingly utilized direct esthetic restorative material, which now involves the majority of direct restorations placed both in the anterior and posterior part of the mouth.


  • Restorations are extremely esthetic mimicking lost tooth structure
  • Restorations may utilize bonding to enamel and dentin for achieving their retention to tooth structure resulting in minimal tooth structure removal
  • Preparations should be defect specific
  • Restorations are viewed as more biocompatible than dental amalgam
  • Through bonding, restorations may reinforce lost tooth structure
  • Restorations are not as thermally conductive as dental amalgam
  • Good longevity when properly placed


  • Restorative material is quite technique sensitive
  • Material is hydrophobic
  • Material must be polymerized properly to achieve maximum physical properties
  • May produce more wear and microleakage than other direct restorative materials
  • Placement techniques must be tailored to the material
  • May discolor over time


  • Isolation must be achieved
  • Any anterior restoration with adequate enamel and dentin for bonded retention
  • Class V restorations where fluoride release is not necessary
  • Posterior restorations with adequate remaining tooth structure
  • Class II restorations where the gingival margin is located in enamel

Relative Contraindications

  • Large cusp coverage posterior restorations
  • Any restoration which does not have sufficient tooth structure for bonding support
  • High risk caries patients, rampant or root caries situations
  • Subgingival margins in dentin (* RMGI)


  • Any preparation where proper field control cannot be achieved