Amalgam phase down: baseline data preceding implementation in Nigeria

Elsevier, International Dental Journal, Volume 70, 1 June 2020
Umesi D.C., Oremosu O.A., Makanjuola J.O.

Objective: The Minimata Convention on mercury includes amalgam phase-down and eventual phase-out from dentistry. To aid its subsequent evaluation it is important to have baseline data of amalgam use in a locality prior to implementing a phase-down. Methodology: Records of patients spanning 5 years from January 2011 to January 2016 were analysed to determine and the compare frequency of amalgam usage with other dental materials for carious teeth restorations in a Nigerian university teaching hospital. Classes of cavities restored and cadres of operators who employed the different materials were included. Institutional ethics committee approval was obtained prior to commencing the study. Results: 2,058 patients’ records were retrieved, 59% females and 41% males. Their ages ranged 19–80 years, mean 33.5 ± 12.7 years, young adults 20–39 years old were the majority (62.9%). Filling materials included 57.5% amalgam, 17.6% glass ionomer cement (GIC) and 24.9% resin composite. Class I restorations constituted 70.5% of amalgam restorations, while Class II restorations made up 29.4% and Class V restorations accounted for 0.1%. Undergraduate dental students placed most of the amalgam restorations (60.5%), and 78.9% of all their restorations were amalgam. Less experienced dentists used all materials equally; the more experienced dentists placed more composite resin and GIC (43.3%). Conclusion: Amalgam fillings constituted nearly 60% of the restorations of carious teeth. Training of dental students in placement of non-mercury alternatives to amalgam and Minimum Intervention Dentistry needs to be emphasized in dental schools. Phase-down of amalgam should be intensified in Nigeria with the ultimate aim of a phase-out in line with the Minamata Convention.