American Dental Association

View all recommendations from this society

Released June 27, 2016

Don’t replace restorations just because they are old.

Dental restorations (fillings) fail due to excessive wear, fracture of material or tooth, loss of retention, or recurrent decay. The larger the size of the restoration and/or the greater the number of surfaces filled increases the likelihood of failure. Restorative materials have different survival rates and fail for different reasons, but age should not be used as a failure criteria.

Support for the ADA’s development of Choosing Wisely recommendations was provided by a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

These items are provided solely for informational purposes and are not intended as a substitute for consultation with a medical professional. Patients with any specific questions about the items on this list or their individual situation should consult their dentist.

How The List Was Created

The American Dental Association (ADA) is a professional organization that supports the practice of evidence-based dentistry and routinely develops clinical guidelines for various clinical topics, including the use of dental sealants to prevent tooth decay and fluoride toothpaste for young children.

To create this list, the ADA’s Council on Access, Prevention and Interprofessional Relations established a Steering Committee consisting of ADA members representing evidence based experts in general dentistry and various disciplines within dentistry, including research, cariology, oral surgery, periodontology, public health, geriatrics and pediatric dentistry. Steering Committee liaisons included representatives from the ADA Council on Dental Practice, Council on Dental Benefit Programs, Council on Communications and Council on Scientific Affairs and representatives from dental specialty organizations.

The Steering Committee reviewed critical issues in dentistry to identify potential recommendation topics and developed, through an evidence-based process, a list of recommendation statements with supporting scientific evidence. Via an intense consensus process, the Steering Committee prepared a list of recommendation statements which were sent to the Council on Access, Prevention and Interprofessional Relations for review. The Council voted to recommend the final five recommendation statements on this list to the ADA Board of Trustees for its approval. The five recommendation statements were approved for distribution by member vote by the ADA Board.

ADA’s disclosure and conflict of interest policy can be found at


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Fedorowicz Z, Carter B, de Souza RF, Chaves CA, Nasser M, Sequeira-Byron P. Single crowns versus conventional fillings for the restoration of root filled teeth. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2012 May 16;5:CD009109.

Sharif MO, Merry A, Catleugh M, Tickle M, Brunton P, Dunne SM, Aggarwal VR, Chong LY. Replacement versus repair of defective restorations in adults: resin composite. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2014 Feb 8;2:CD005970.