A revised classification for direct tooth-colored restorative materials

Graham J. Mount, Martin J. Tyas, Jack L. Ferracane, John W. Nicholson, Joel H. Berg, Richard J. Simonsen, Hien C. Ngo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Composite resins and glass-ionomer cements were introduced to dentistry in the 1960s and 1970s, respectively. Since then, there has been a series of modifications to both materials as well as the development other groups claiming intermediate characteristics between the two. The result is a confusion of materials leading to selection problems. While both materials are tooth-colored, there is a considerable difference in their properties, and it is important that each is used in the appropriate situation. Composite resin materials are esthetic and now show acceptable physical strength and wear resistance. However, they are hydrophobic, and therefore more difficult to handle in the oral environment, and cannot support ion migration. Also, the problems of gaining long-term adhesion to dentin have yet to be overcome. On the other hand, glass ionomers are water-based and therefore have the potential for ion migration, both inward and outward from the restoration, leading to a number of advantages. However, they lack the physical properties required for use in loadbearing areas. A logical classification designed to differentiate the materials was first published by McLean et al in 1994, but in the last 15 years, both types of material have undergone further research and modification. This paper is designed to bring the classification up to date so that the operator can make a suitable, evidence-based, choice when selecting a material for any given situation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)691-697
Number of pages7
JournalQuintessence international
Issue number8
StatePublished - 2009


  • Classification
  • Composite resin
  • Glass ionomer
  • Polyacid-modified composite resin
  • Resin-modified glass ionomer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dentistry(all)


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