Objective. The restoration of carious primary teeth plays an underestimated role in paediatric dentistry. This is astonishing for many reasons, not least because many new materials have been introduced in recent years. New or modified techniques and materials, with better aesthetics and flexural properties, allow minimally invasive treatment. A transfer of techniques between different dentitions, however, may be problematic because of both micromorphological differences and compliance. Therefore, this paper deals with options for restoring primary teeth and the early stages of the mixed dentition using polyacid-modified composites, the so-called compomers.
Methods. Medline and Embase were scanned from 1990 through 2006. Furthermore, a hand-search of nonlisted but peer-reviewed papers was performed. The search items were compomer*, dent*, primary* and deciduous*, which identified 109 relevant publications.
Conclusions. Based on high clinical success rates, compomers are now an effective alternative to other materials for restorative therapy in the anterior and posterior primary teeth. A minimum amount of compliance is still mandatory in order to allow for a few minutes of adhesive pretreatment and layering without contamination. If this is not the case, compomers make no sense. Stainless steel crowns are still the most effective from of restoration for severely decayed primary molars.